Building Trades / Construction


NEW! Teach Deflection Concepts with Hacksaw Blades and Rubber Bands
Students conduct a variety of deflection experiments with simple, inexpensive materials. The activity appeared in the February 2013 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted. Student instructions and worksheets are now included.

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Conduct Load Test Experiments Using Simple Materials
Experimenting with simple paperboard, students learn how engineers conduct load tests. They start with a simple strip, add a strut support system to improve their results, and finally design their own support. Worksheets for recording and charting results included.


Cost-Effective Tower Building and Testing
Students learn structural engineering by building tower sides, then testing them with a teacher-made testing device—“Big Buster.” Note: This project appeared in the May 2008 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use.


Deck Construction
This project provides background on the structural elements of decks so commonly found outside today's homes, plus procedure for constructing scale model decks.


Designer Concrete
Background on composite materials and their use in construction, with an activity that has students experiment with different formulas for concrete, then strength test the results.


Designing a Self-Sustaining Community
Students assume the role of consultant for a small community that wishes to be self-sustaining in terms of electrical service. The activity appeared in the November 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted. Student handouts and worksheets are now included. Only $2.95.

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Designing Memorials and Monuments
Monuments and memorials inform, sooth and inspire us. As this scale-model hands-on project shows, they also can provide students with excellent experience with design.


Designing Playgrounds
Background on the many safety concerns involved in design and construction, plus a hands-on activity in which students design and construct a small-scale playground.


Doghouse Project Hones Construction Skills
Students build a doghouse from the ground up! From laying out components and performing slump tests to setting footers and laying shingles. Includes lots of supplemental material, including detailed procedures, materials cost and estimation charts, CAD drawings, glossary and more.


Energy-Efficient Home Design
Activities give students a practical understanding of the amount of energy the average home uses and wastes and teaches them about energy-efficient design. Includes handouts, vocabulary, student quiz, and grading rubric.


Experiments Demonstrate Geothermal Heating Concepts
A series of experiments conducted using an inexpensive teacher-built testing box demonstrate the basics of geothermal heating. This project appeared in the March 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted for classroom use. It includes student work sheets, data collection tables, and graphs for studet use. Only $2.95.

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Fence Construction
The basics of planning for and building a fence, plus hands-on experience with a scale-model project.


Geodesic Dome
Students build a model geodesic dome with wooden dowels and PVC pipe.


Geodesic Dome Construction
Students explore math, science, and technology principles related to design and construction, then work in teams to build a geodesic dome. Eight student worksheets, plus a detailed assessment form are included.


Making a Laser Level
This project gives detailed procedure for constructing an inexpensive, very accurate level that incorporates a laser pointer.


Materials Science
Middle schoolers learn about the basic types of materials and their properties, how to measure and safely use basic tools, and how to design and construct a prototype and final project using these materials.


A New Twist to Bridge and Tower Building
Picking up where “Newspaper Structures” leaves off (see next item), this middle school project teaches principles of mathematics as they relate to structural stability and the building of model structures. Includes 8 pages of student handouts.


Newspaper Structures
Challenge—build a geodesic dome large enough for a student to sit inside. Capture students’ interest in this fascinating project that uses only newspaper, scissors, masking tape, and dowel rods. Students will have fun and learn about physics topics, such as strength-to-weight ratios, Euler’s Law of regular polyhedra, and much more.


Patio Stone Project
Background on the composition, history and uses of concrete, plus a hands-on activity in which students mix concrete and design and pour a patio stone for use at home.


Planned Community
You don’t have to look very far to find a planned community nowadays, they’re all around us. In this activity, students individually construct one piece of property, following strict covenants, that together will make up one large planned community.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Scale Model House
Students learn to read a blueprint and practice measuring in architectural scale, then build their own cardboard scale-model house.


Simple Sextant
Students learn the history of navigation, then construct a functional sextant using a plastic protractor, drinking straw, fishing weight (sinker), string, and tape.


Soils Engineering and Its Impact on Construction
Students gather and test a variety of types and mixes of soil to learn how builders and engineers are influenced by local soil considerations when they design and construct buildings. Mini project, only $2.95.


Structural Truss Elements and Forces
An introduction to primary, secondary and tertiary element relationships within structures gives students greater understanding of how constructed structures and elements distribute the forces and loads applied to them. A hands-on activity lets them apply--and test--what they've learned.


Structures and Bridges
After learning about the forces of tension, compression and shear, students build a simple beam-and-truss bridge to test for its resistance against these forces.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Teach Energy Savings with Cardboard ‘House’
Practical experiments that require only common household materials give students insight as to how heat is lost through the walls and ceilings of a home plus various properties of insulation. This project appeared in the April 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use. Mini-project, only $2.95!

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Teach Quality Control with Gambrel Roof Truss Challenge
Help students understand the importance of quality control through design and constuction of a roof truss. Suitable for middle school through high school levels. This project appeared in the December 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use and also includes five project activity sheets and a list of key terms.

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Tensional Integrity
Tensional integrity, or tensegrity, is covered with explanations of torque, stress, and Hooke’s Law. Once students understand the principles, they can complete three activities building structures based on what they have learned.


Testing How Structure and Shape Affect Strength
Using only paper, tape and glue, students construct several structures and shapes to examine how different construction techniques affect an object’s strength. Then, using a teacher-built “smasher,” the objects are put to the test.


Toothpick Experiment: Investigating Construction Strength
Students experiment to determine the strength of various kinds of joints, then design and test the strength of bridges made from toothpicks.


Towers: A Smashing Activity
Students explore mathematical and technological problem solving and apply concepts of measurement, geometric modeling, geometric stability and perimeter in designing, building and testing (kaboom!) inexpensive wooden towers.


Understanding How Heat Works
Use thermometers or temperature sensors on a stick to help students understand how heat disperses through air and water. Project appeared in the February 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted to provide student worksheets and data collection pages. Only $2.95.

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Water Pressure Basics
Students experiment with water pressure and flow using two simple, easy-to-make water tank designs.
This project appeared in the January 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use with added student data recording sheets. Mini project, only $2.95.


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Written by teachers for teachers, these ready-to-use, hands-on projects for technology education and applied science classes are great curriculum enhancement tools. They really get students motivated!

Simply duplicate and use for as many students—and for as many times—as desired. Our high-quality activities save you time and help your students really understand the principles of technology and applied science. Projects include teaching tools such as procedures, vocabulary words, quizzes, photos, illustrations and much more.

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