The last part of our exploration of structural engineering, 5th graders learned about domes by collaboratively building model geodesic domes from drinking straws and jix connectors. Big takeaways were that domes are employed because they are inexpensive, lightweight, natural disaster resistant and the most efficient way to cover a ground area in terms of materials and time required for assembly.
As part of our exploration of structural engineering, 5th graders began a study of superstructures and i-beams by collaboratively making a model building from paper i-beams. This connects to the post and lintel method of architecture. The activity is another way to help us understand that strength comes from shape, not just material properties.