the WGBH Educational Foundation
the Public Broadcasting Service
This large collection of labs, activities, and interactive tutorials allows kids to explore large structures and what it takes to build them. They will investigate bridges, dams, tunnels, skyscrapers, and domes. The interactivity of the site is its hallmark feature, with simulation-based activities to explore forces, test the strength of materials, learn about structural load, and see how shape affects strength. The site includes a "Wonders of the World Databank" to search for big structures with specific features. An Educator's Guide provides content standards, lesson ideas, and additional resources.
Editor's Note: This resource provides a framework for integrating physics, engineering, materials science, and geography. The original Building Big trademark is associated with a 5-part PBS series, available at the pbs.org online shop for an additional cost.
Metadata instance created
October 8, 2011
by Caroline Hall
October 8, 2011
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
May 17, 2009
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
3. The Nature of Technology
3B. Design and Systems
3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.
6-8: 3B/M4a. Systems fail because they have faulty or poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with.
6-8: 3B/M4b. The most common ways to prevent failure are pretesting of parts and procedures, overdesign, and redundancy.
3C. Issues in Technology
3-5: 3C/E4. Factors such as cost, safety, appearance, environmental impact, and what will happen if the solution fails must be considered in technological design.
6-8: 3C/M3. Throughout history, people have carried out impressive technological feats, some of which would be hard to duplicate today even with modern tools. The purposes served by these achievements have sometimes been practical, sometimes ceremonial.
6-8: 3C/M4. Technology is largely responsible for the great revolutions in agriculture, manufacturing, sanitation and medicine, warfare, transportation, information processing, and communications that have radically changed how people live and work.
6-8: 3C/M8. Scientific laws, engineering principles, properties of materials, and construction techniques must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions to problems.
4. The Physical Setting
4D. The Structure of Matter
3-5: 4D/E1a. Heating and cooling can cause changes in the properties of materials, but not all materials respond the same way to being heated and cooled.
3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
3-5: 4F/E1bc. The greater the force is, the greater the change in motion will be. The more massive an object is, the less effect a given force will have.
6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
4G. Forces of Nature
3-5: 4G/E1. The earth's gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it.
8. The Designed World
8B. Materials and Manufacturing
3-5: 8B/E2. Humans have produced a wide variety of materials, such as steel, plastic, and nylon, that do not appear in nature.
6-8: 8B/M1. The choice of materials for a job depends on their properties.
6-8: 8B/M6. Some materials, such as plastics, are synthesized in chemical reactions that link atoms together in long chains. Plastics can be designed to have a variety of different properties for a variety of uses.
9-12: 8B/H1. Manufacturing processes have been changed by improved tools and techniques based on more thorough scientific understanding, increases in the forces that can be applied and the temperatures that can be reached, and the availability of electronic controls that make operations occur more rapidly and consistently.
9-12: 8B/H4. Increased knowledge of the properties of particular molecular structures helps in the design and synthesis of new materials for special purposes.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion Unit Title: Applications of Newton's Laws
This large collection of labs, activities, and interactive tutorials allows kids to explore large structures and what it takes to build them. They will investigate bridges, dams, tunnels, skyscrapers, and domes. The interactivity of the site is its hallmark feature, with simulation-based activities to explore forces, test the strength of materials, learn about structural load, and see how shape affects strength.
%0 Electronic Source %D May 17, 2009 %T PBS: Building Big %I WGBH Educational Foundation %V 2014 %N 8 March 2014 %8 May 17, 2009 %9 application/flash %U http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/
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