Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Monday Morning Ready05.31.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

Humans have been crafting shelters out of reliable wood ever since our ancestors solved the problem of chopping down trees. In everything from simple huts made of branches, to broad pavilions with large timbers set in post-holes, wood has always featured prominently.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using CLT to build a tall structure?

Grade 5-6

According to the article, CLT and other mass timber products have been used in Europe for nearly 20 years. Why do you think it's taking so long for it to be used in the U.S.?

Grade 7-8

Why do you think stacking and gluing boards in alternating layers makes CLT boards stronger than if the wood had been created using parallel layers?

Grade 9-10

In the article, Portland architect Thomas Robinson compares CLT to an IKEA cabinet. Do you think this is a good comparison? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Design a Skyscraper of the Future

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, discuss what it means to build a green skyscraper. Challenge students to identify different elements that can make a skyscraper environmentally friendly. Make a list. 
  2. Invite students to scour the Internet to find examples of planned or existing green skyscrapers. Which elements from the list do they see in each?  
  3. Instruct students to select their favorite green elements. Challenge them to incorporate those elements into a design for a skyscraper of the future. Give students time to sketch a model of their designs. 
  4. Provide a variety of art materials or have students bring items from home. Encourage students to build a model of their proposed skyscrapers.

 
ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their models with the class. Instruct them to identify each green element in their designs. Challenge them to explain how each green element makes the skyscraper environmentally friendly.
 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    
 

Grades 3-4:
As a class, search online to find various examples of planned or existing green skyscrapers. If necessary, help students recognize the green elements in each structure. Have students vote to select their three favorite green elements. Divide the class into small groups. Challenge each group to design a green skyscraper with the selected traits. Compare and contrast the results.
 
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to find and study various examples of green skyscrapers. Instruct groups to select three green elements to incorporate into their skyscraper designs. Give them time to sketch and create a model.
 
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Give partners time to find and study various examples of green skyscrapers. Instruct them to select five green elements to incorporate into their skyscraper designs. Give students time to sketch and create a model. 
 
Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Encourage pairs to scour the Internet to learn more about green skyscrapers. Instruct them to select a combination of green elements that they think would result in the most environmentally friendly skyscraper ever built. Give pairs time to sketch and create a model of their designs. As pairs present their models to the class, challenge them to explain why they chose these green elements and why they think the combination of elements will result in the most environmentally friendly skyscraper ever built.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Six of the Wildest Skyscrapers Imaginable
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the winners of an annual skyscraper design competition where designers are encouraged to think way beyond the “tall rectangle with windows” model.

James Renwick, Jr.: Architecture Lesson Plan and Activities
In this lesson from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, students will learn about James Renwick, Jr. and the architectural history of two Smithsonian Institution buildings he designed. They will practice describing what they see, make their own designs and turn a rough early drawing into a final model.

Building Up, Breaking Down
Use the lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom to help students explore the weathering of buildings, which begins the minute the structures are built. Physical breakdown (such as rock fracture), chemical weathering and pollution are all key ingredients in this discussion of the geology of the built environment.

How Trump Tower Takes the Skyscraper Debate to New Heights
Read this Smithsonian article to learn why the future of urban development takes on a new twist when the president lives among the clouds

Booming Out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York
This Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition introduces students to Mohawk ironworkers who, for more than a century, have helped build some of New York City’s most prominent landmarks.
ALSO ON TEENTRIBUNE.COM