Engineering Science with The World’s Tallest Buildings Unit Study

Ever wondered what the tallest building in the world was? How about the tallest building in your city? Through hands on activities, research, art and more we explored the world of engineering science using The World’s Tall Buildings Unit Study.

Engineering Science with The World's Tallest Buildings Unit Study from Starts At Eight

We had the opportunity to change things up in science a bit. I have to admit, it was a nice change of pace! We took some time out from our usual science to explore the world of engineering science with The World’s Tallest Buildings Unit Study from

Engineering Science with The World’s Tallest Buildings Unit Study:

The first thing I noticed and love about this engineering science unit study is that it is flexible and adaptable.  Do more by doing the challenges and extensive presentations, do less by taking some of those extra elements out and simply do the smaller one on one stuff.

The second thing I love is how it is broken down into bite sized sections. Each section is like a self contained unit all by itself! It allowed us to easily do one thing and then walk away for a day or two, or three, and not feel as though we had lost anything from the previous day(s).

The 4 major sections:

1. Paper Tower Power Challenge

This was a tough challenge!  Here is what we came up with!

Paper Tower Power Challenge

2. Timeline of the World’s Tallest

This timeline was one of my favorites (next to the upcoming art project).  I love that there is a template notebooking page your student can work from, or they can choose to make their own and be more elaborate with it.  My son tends to be the shortcut king so he used the notebooking page and drew more generic looking buildings for each one.  I would have loved him to try to better recreate the buildings, or print small photos of them out, or color them.  The possibilities are endless, but anyway you slice it this becomes a fun look the some of the tallest buildings in our world.
Along with this step there were also research and presentation options.   We chose to do a small research paper on his building of choice (Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai), but skipped the presentation part.

Many modern cities like New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are recognized by their skyrises.  The World’s Tallest Buildings: An Engineering Unit Study engages students in research of the world’s tallest buildings while challenging them to design one of their own.   ~ Eva Varga

3. Skyscraper Design Challenge

Building his own skyscraper, even with the added bonus of solid pieces (instead of just paper) proved to be harder than he thought!  It was fun to see the wheels in his brain turning while adapting pieces to make the tower stand on its own.  This project stemmed the longest of any of the steps.  Between gathering materials, designing and redesigning, putting at all together, and painting it too, we probably spent 3-4 days (only an hour or two each day)

Unfortunately before we got to take the final picture (seen below on the right), his sister knocked something onto the tower and broke it. Thus the cooked box in the middle that has the whole tower looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Skyscraper Design Challenge

4. Warm & Cool Skyline Art Project

This art project was a crowd pleaser as even my 7 year old daughter participated in doing this one. It gave us a chance to refresh our memories on the concepts of warm and cool colors, as well as reinforce a recent project with overlapping buildings we had worked on! We chose to do our project with water colors, but the options are endless (chalk or oil pastels, markers, acrylic paint, colored pencils, etc).

Warm and Cool Skyline Art Project

Additional Resources:

We also watched the two skyscraper videos below as well as read and looked through many of the books. We also spent time looking up many of the tall buildings we came upon to see actual photos of them as well as the stories and stats behind them. The Internet was a great resources for this.