There's this fantastic book that I wanted to share with the kids entitled, The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond. It's all about the history of architecture, with big fold-out illustrations of the world's most famous buildings. My original review for the book can be found here.
So after a thorough book talk, we went through our own small history of buildings.
First up, building with sticks and mud...or marshmallows:
Kids got a certain number of toothpicks and marshmallows (anything they ate was just a handicap for them!) and got to building. Then, whoever built the sturdiest structure after a half hour won. We tested the strength with some skinny paperback books placed on top.
The kids got to learn what sort of shapes were the sturdiest and why the ancients might have stuck to a pyramid shape.
What should come along in the history of architecture but...bricks?
The competition this time was to build the tallest structure--but still sturdy! After a half hour, the kids would bring up their creations for testing on our "Lego Earthquake Table"
This illustration and the instructions for making your own Lego Earthquake Table come from Scientific American.
We ran out of time after that, but you can have all sorts of fun with architecture and engineering. Let the kids get creative!
Other Book Ideas
The Picture History of Great BuildingsWritten by Gillian Clements
13 Buildings Children Should KnowWritten by Annette Roeder
The Future Architect's HandbookWritten by Barbara Beck