Read Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Tower by Diana Hutts. This ALA notable book fits perfectly into our fifth grade science curriculum as we discuss themes of immigrants moving to our country and also lessons on National Landmarks. The book is a fictional book set in Los Angeles.
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold may be placed in a literacy center to give students a different perspective of the workers that put so much of their lives into the building of our cities. The father in this story helped build the George Washington Bridge and it is National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Students may journal the prompt: What should make a building a national landmark?
In the back of Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Tower you will find ideas for students building their own tower. Try blog writter Kristen Remenar’s idea at http://kristenremenar.com and extend this book with an outdoor math lesson.
Our school prepares each year for the Lamar Consolidated Science Olympiad and practices building straw towers. Check out this link on the Science Olympiad site http://soinc.org/sites/default/files/StrawTowerChallenge.pdf. I love this activity because students need to use their knowledge of geometry to apply to building their base. It is also an inexpensive activity because it uses straws and pins that may be recyled.
Use iPads in a literacy center to give students practice with national landmarks in the United States at Stack the States Lite.