Building Big Lesson Plan
- Grades: 6–8
About this book
Building Big by David Macaulay
Subject area: Language Arts
Reading Level: 6.9
Have you ever wondered how they build tunnels underneath the water? Or make sure the bridge stays suspended during a storm? These are the questions that David Macaulay answers. Brick by brick, we learn about the design of ancient and modern bridges, tunnels, dams and skyscrapers. Macaulay sends us back in time and around the world so that we can see the challenges faced and met by architects and engineers. Focusing on the design problem and its solution, these feats of modern-day architecture are built before are very eyes. Building Big will give the reader a whole new perspective on these fascinating structures that play such an important role in our world.
Students will write a persuasive letter using details from their reading.
Standard: The student produces a persuasive piece that supports arguments with detailed evidence and engages the reader by establishing a context.
- Why do people build bridges and tunnels? How would life be different without them?
- What are some of the challenges that people face when building these structures
- Have students respond in writing to the questions below:
- If you were to build a new bridge or tunnel in your neighborhood, what would you connect? Why? How would the new structure be helpful to people?
- Have students find a partner. Each group of two should decide on a bridge or tunnel that they would like to build in their neighborhood.
- Each of the students is then given a role and a written task to complete. They are as follows.
- Your job is to petition the governor in a formal letter about why this bridge/tunnel is necessary. Use the following guidelines for your letter.
- Discuss what the purpose of this bridge or tunnel is, whom it will help, and where it will be built.
- Use a structure from Building Big to use as a model for your bridge or tunnel. Give the governor a brief overview of what type of structure you will build.
- Anticipate the governor's objections and provide reasons why your bridge will make your neighborhood a more efficient place.
- You would like your company to build the bridge or tunnel. In your letter to the governor's office:
- Present the governor with the details of what the bridge will look like. Include a sketch.
- Write a detailed explanation of how it will be built. Take your reader through a step-by-step process. Use one of the structures in Building Big as a model.
Identify the possible problems and your architectural solutions. Show examples of other bridges/tunnels that you have built before as evidence that you should be selected to build this bridge.
- Have students present their letters as an oral argument. Vote as a class on which project(s) should be approved. Discuss what were the most convincing arguments presented.
- Have students read a classmates' letter and respond as the governor.
Other Books by David Macaulay
Building the Book Cathedral
The New Way Things Work
Black and White
They Way Things Work
Why the Chicken Crossed the Road
Motel of they Mysteries
Great Moments in Architecture
City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction
Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
Teaching Plan written by Gabrielle Nidus.