Science and Art Activity

Students design a skyscraper and indicate the inventions, features, and materials that they would include.



  1. Have students study photographs of skyscrapers and share their feelings about and experiences with such buildings. Get the discussion going with such questions as

  2. Tell students that they are going to design their own skyscraper. Divide students into design teams that include a mix of interests and abilities.

  3. Suggest that the design teams make lists of what their building should have, referring to reference works for information. Their list should include essential structural elements, such as elevators, electrical wiring, plumbing, steel girders, communication systems, air-ducts, and so forth. They might also make a list of the best features of skyscrapers and include those, then make a list of the worst features and consider ways of offsetting those problems. These might include such issues as parking, transportation, and safety.

  4. The final design should be presented in the form of a cutaway diagram with both interior and exterior features labeled. Have a spokesperson from each team make an oral presentation of its design.


Invite an architect or designer to speak to the class about skyscrapers. Have students prepare a list of questions to ask. If possible, have the speaker comment on students' designs.

Have students hold a debate about skyscrapers. One team might take the position that skyscrapers are good for their city (or a nearby metropolis), while the other argues the opposite.

Suggest that students research other tall structures in various civilizations to learn their purposes and functions. They can share what they learn in either a written or oral presentation.

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