Construction

Is It Long Enough? - Video | The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

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Nick and Sally find a bamboo stalk that they want to use as a bridge. It’s definitely strong enough... but is it long enough? 

ZOOM | Columns: Experimenting with Paper Cups

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Columns, vertical structural elements that are strong in compression, are good at propping things up. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, the cast uses paper cups to illustrate what makes columns strong and why they sometimes collapse. By filling the cups with sand, they also show that even hollow columns of a weak material like paper can be made surprisingly strong.

It's Cool to Be a Civil Engineer

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Civil engineers take pride in the fact that their work contributes to society, helping people get places quickly and safely, and providing them with vital resources such as clean water and electricity whenever they need them. In this video segment, adapted from Thinking Big, Building Small, some civil engineers talk about the creativity and logic that go into their work.

Scientist Profile: Earthquake Scientist

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Engineer Jose Restrepo is an earthquake scientist in California. As a child growing up in Colombia, he loved to study buildings. In 1978, when he was a college student, a large earthquake struck Colombia. That's when he decided to study earthquakes. He now uses that knowledge to find ways to make concrete structures more resistant to an earthquake's shock.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Wind Power

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In this video from NOVA’s Energy Lab, learn about the benefits and limitations of wind power technologies. Modern wind turbines transform wind energy into electrical energy by capturing wind to turn an electrical generator. Wind farms that produce electricity using wind turbines are environmentally-friendly sources of electricity, but they are not yet in widespread use. Some of the issues that limit the potential of wind power include energy storage, location, and cost. 

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Super Tunnel | Extending London's Underground Railway

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Learn how engineers are building a new metro line beneath central London that connects with the city’s existing Underground network, in this media gallery from NOVA: Super Tunnel. Two videos detail the engineering challenges and the technologies used to dig a tunnel without disrupting the busy streets above. To remove earth, the project uses eight tunnel-boring machines, each 490 feet in length and 1,000 tons in weight. To help ensure safety at the surface, a network of lasers and targets monitors building movements that may result from disturbing the ground below. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.

NOVA scienceNOW: Smart Bridges

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This video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW features two engineering innovations designed to improve structural safety in bridges. The video shows how sound waves can be used to detect cracks in steel and other signs of bridge instability undetected by the human eye. A second approach involves painting onto the bridge a "sensing skin" made of microscopic carbon nanotubes that use electrical currents to reveal structural damage or weak spots. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 6-12 students.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Overcoming Design Problems: The Leadenhall Building | Super Skyscrapers

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Learn about the constraints of place and space on the building design process in this clip from Super Skyscrapers. The architects of London’s Leadenhall Building had a unique challenge. A traditionally-shaped skyscraper would ruin one of the last clean sight lines to London’s most famous landmark, St. Paul’s Cathedral. So, architect Graham Stirk proposed a “wedge” design. This choice posed additional challenges, such as the where to put the bathrooms and elevators when there’s no central core. Thus, the engineers created a new process known as “active alignment,” where the gaps between the steel connections are changed as the building grows.

Beaver Lodge - Wild Kratts | PBS KIDS Lab

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Use this game resource to teach children how beavers build a cozy home for their family. Chris and Martin stumble into the cozy home of a family of beavers.

Utiliza este juego par enseñar a niños cómo los castores construyen un hogar para sus familias. Chris y Martin tropiezan en la casa de una familia de castores. 

Electrician

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Light up a future career path as you learn about this power-filled hands-on career (college not required!)

See the Lab Squad kids’ report for this career in Support Materials +

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