1. Help students brainstorm the names of some famous skyscrapers. Many are probably familiar with the Empire State Building in New York City or the Sears Tower in Chicago. Have a brief discussion about why people build such giant buildings. For example, they are efficient in crowded cities because they provide maximum office or living space while taking up a small amount of ground. They have also become cultural or industrial icons and a source of pride for the city in which they are found.
2. Now create your own skyline in your classroom or in a nearby hall. Assign each student to the following skyscrapers: 1)Petronas Towers, 2) Willis (Sears) Tower, 3)Chrysler Building, 4) Empire State Building, 5) Burj Dubai, 6) Sky Tree – Tokyo, 7) Taipei 101 Tower, 8) Freedom Tower, 9) Tribune Tower, 10) Eiffel Tower, 11) Makkah Clock Royal Tower, 12) Shanghai World Financial Tower, 13) International Commerce Center, 14) Zifeng Tower, 15) KK100, 16) Princess Tower, 17) Al Hamra Tower, 18) 23 Marina Tower 19) Shun Hing Square, 20) Elite Residence, 21) The Domain, 22) Jin Mao Tower, 23) Two International Hotel and Tower, 24) Bank of America Tower, 25) Bank of China Tower, 26) Central Plaza. Have the students answer the following questions about their skyscraper:
Part 1 (6.25 Points each)
Where is the skyscraper located?
When was it completed?
How long did the construction take?
How tall is it?
What materials were used in its construction?
Who was the architect who designed the building?
What were some of the goals the architect was trying to accomplish?
Do you think he or she succeeded in meeting those objectives?
During what year(s) was it the tallest building in the world? When, if ever, did it lose its title?
Where does this building rank today among the tallest in the world?
What materials or technology enabled it to surpass the heights of previously constructed skyscrapers?
How many people visit this skyscraper each day/week/month/year?
What were some of the challenges involved in building it?
Were any people injured or killed during the building process?
What are some important events that took place in this skyscraper?
What type of building is it? (commercial office space, hotel, residential, etc.)
The following Web sites are good sources of information about these buildings:
General Skyscraper Web Sites
Reaching New Heights: The History of Skyscrapers
World’s Tallest Towers (chart/bar graph)
New York City Skyscrapers
The Skyscraper’s Buildings page
Famous Skyscraper Web Sites
Empire State Building
Burj Khalifa, Unite Arab Emirates
Part 2 (See rubric)
3. Create a skyline in the class. After the students complete their research, have each create an elevation/illustration, of its skyscraper on piece of 11x17 paper or on butcher paper. Each student should use the same scale, such as 2 ½”of illustration = 200 feet of actual skyscraper. At the bottom of the illustration, ask them to include a stick figure of a 5-foot person for size comparison.
Part 3 (10 Points each)
4. Create a header/building name with basic facts about the building (name, year built, location, height). Then write 10 fun facts about the building on sticky notes and post them around their illustration.
Part 5 (10 points each)
How do engineers make skyscrapers strong enough to withstand earthquakes, high winds, and severe changes in temperature?
If you could visit any skyscraper in the world, which one would you pick? Why?
How do you think a skyscraper enhances a city?
Why does it instill pride in a city’s residents? Try to find some evidence to support your ideas.
If you could design a new skyscraper for your town or city, what would it look like?
What material(s) would you use to create it?
What design elements might you use that reflect your town’s history, culture, or icons?
What are some dangers involved in the construction of skyscrapers?
What precautions are taken to minimize the risks?
Do you think skyscrapers are a good way to deal with space constraints in urban areas? Do you think the advantages of skyscrapers outweigh the disadvantages? Provide evidence to support your answer.
Rubric for skyscraper illustration and final product:
Students should be able to research; create an accurate, attractive illustration of a skyscraper; and find some interesting facts about their skyscraper. Use the following rubric to evaluate students’ work during this lesson:
A - Students used time wisely, created a skyscraper that was visually and factually accurate, displayed creativity and careful planning, and adhered to the required scale. Students also found many interesting facts about their skyscraper.
B - Students used time adequately and created a skyscraper illustration that was mostly accurate, showed some creative ideas and forethought, and adhered to the required scale. Students also found some interesting facts about their skyscraper.
C - Students had trouble working on the project and using time wisely and created a skyscraper illustration that showed little planning, included minimal information or much inaccurate information, and ignored the scale determined by the class. Students were not able to find
many interesting facts about their skyscraper.