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STEM Friday: Investigating the Tallest Structures in the World!

Skyscrapers: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects

by Donna Latham

Can you identify what structure was nicknamed the “Metal Asparagus” by some who found it hideously unappealing when it was completed in 1889? I’ll give you a hint. It’s perhaps the most famous and recognizable structure in the world. You guessed it, the Eiffel Tower! The Eiffel Tower is just one of the many structures around the world that define our cityscapes. And it’s not even one of the oldest. In fact, humans have endeavored to build tall since long, long ago. The first known “skyscrapers” were built of sun-dried mud and bricks. These buildings, called ziggurats, were stepped pyramids built in the ancient Mesopotamian Valley as offerings to the powerful gods living in the skies. Today our skyscrapers reach much taller than these primitive forms, and they’re not just monuments; they’re homes, offices, museums, and everything else that you could imagine!

"Hands-on Doesn't Always Mean Minds-on"

I came across a Twitter link to this interesting article today: Experiential Learning, by Grant Wiggins. It's a criticism in a general sense about the way in which we might assume that if a learning endeavor is hands-on then it must automatically be engaging, experiential, and therefore "minds-on." This isn't necessarily true, the author argues. Hands-on projects require more than just going through the motions. Reflection--in the form of questioning--must go along with every project in order to ensure the project can be digested, mentally.

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