EDUCATOR RESOURCE PACKET GRADES 5–9 F ??s fantastic geodesic dome f u l l e r ’ s geodesic dome national building museum educator resource packet grades 5–9 fantastic

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  • F U LLE RS F A N T A S T I C





    G E O D E S I C





  • National Building Museum

    C reated by an act of Congress in 1980, the National Building Museum explores, celebrates, and illuminatesachievements in architecture, design, engineering, construction, and planning. Since opening its doors in 1985,the Museum has become a vital forum for exchanging ideas and information about such topical issues as managingsuburban growth, designing and building sustainable communities, and revitalizing urban centers. A private, non-profit institution, the Museum creates and presents engaging exhibitions and education programs, including innovative curricula for school children.

    Over the past two decades, the Museum has created and refined an extensive array of youth programming.Each year, approximately 50,000 young people and their families participate in hands-on learning experiences atthe Museum: several different, 2-hour-long school programs for grades K9; major daylong festivals; drop-infamily workshops; programs helping Cub and Girl Scouts earn activity badges; and three innovative outreach programs, lasting between 30 and 60 hours, for secondary school students. The Museums youth programminghas won the Washington, D.C., Mayors Arts Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education and garneredrecognition from the National Endowment for the Arts.

    The National Building Museum is located in a historic landmark structure at 401 F Street, NW, Washington, DC20001. To learn more about the Museum, visit

    Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome is funded in part by a generous grant from Bender Foundation, Inc. Additional support for The National Building

    Museums school programs is provided by the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Clark Charitable Foundation, and The Max and Victoria

    Dreyfus Foundation, among others.

    2007, National Building Museum. All rights reserved. For purposes of classroom instruction, the publisher grants permission for teachers to reproduce

    the student activity worksheets, not to exceed the number needed for students in each class. With the exception of the foregoing provision, no part of

    the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome Educator Resource Packet may be reproduced by any meansgraphic, electronic (including electronic retrieval

    and storage systems), or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, and tapingwithout permission of the publisher.

  • Table of Contents

    To the Educator | 2

    Program Description | 4Goals, Objectives, and Skills Used | 4

    National Standards of Learning | 6

    Lessons Matrix | 9

    1. Museum Orientation

    Getting Ready | 12Before Visiting the Museum | 12Directions | 12Map | 14

    While Youre Here | 15Upon Arrival | 15Touring the Building and Exhibitions | 15Lunches | 15Visiting the Museum Shop | 15

    The National Building Museum | 17Facts About the Historic Home of the National Building Museum | 17

    2. Geodesic Dome Essentials

    Introduction to Domes | 20Basic Engineering Principles | 20Space Framing | 20Geodesic Domes | 21

    Who was Buckminster Fuller? | 23

    3. Building a Foundation Lessons

    Understanding Forces at Work:Compression and Tension | 26

    Shapes and Solids: Investigating Triangles,Squares, Pyramids, and Cubes | 30Shapes and Solids Student Worksheet | 34Patterns for Creating Cubes and Tetrahedrons | 35

    4. Reinforcement Lessons

    Architecture Investigation: Traditional and Geodesic Structures | 38Structures Investigation Student Worksheet Part I | 40Structures Investigation Student Worksheet Part II | 42

    Geodesic Domes: Take a Closer Look | 44

    Fun Field Trips:Exploring Your Community | 45

    5. Resources

    Geodesic Dome Vocabulary | 48

    Resources | 50Books | 50Websites | 50Videos | 51Activity Kits | 51Organizations | 51

    2007 National Building Museum | Introduction 1

  • Why Study Geodesic Domes?

    A geodesic dome is a system of triangular formslinked together to enclose a space. Of all structures itdistributes stress and weight the most economically.Geodesic domes are unusual structures that intriguestudents and offer teachers an opportunity to investi-gate interesting concepts in engineering, math, andenvironmental science. Geodesic domes are used inunique spacesstadiums, theme parks, and play-grounds. They generally dont look like the buildingsthat people use in their everyday lives. Through studying geodesic domes, students are exposed to an innovative solution to the ongoing challenge ofcreating structureshow to maximize space whilecreating a strong, cost effective, people friendly structure. By studying the geodesic dome and its construction, students learn about materials, struc-tures, and forces used in all buildings.

    Why Use Design as an Education Model?

    The Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome school programand all other education programs at the NationalBuilding Museum inspire students to examine thepeople, processes, and materials that create buildings,places, and structures. All of the Museums youtheducation programs use the design process as aneducational model. This model requires young peopleto identify problems or needs, imagine solutions, testthem before building a suitable design, and evaluatethe product.

    Learning by doing is central to design education ingeneral and to the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Domeprogram in particular. After engaging in a variety of hands-on lessons that stimulate exploration ofstructural systems, geodesic domes, and the built environment, students gain a fresh perspective ontheir surroundings and begin to understand howdesign decisions impact the built environment.

    2 Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome | 2007 National Building Museum

    To the Educator

    T hank you for selecting the National Building Museum for your field trip. This Educator Resource Packet isdesigned to supplement the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome program and is intended to help bothteachers and students, grades five through nine, recognize geodesic domes and discover their importance inthe world around them.

    The information, lessons, and activities found in this packet should help you teach structural design concepts to yourstudents. The lessons suggested in this packet are designed for classroom use before and after your students visitthe Museum. They encourage young people to explore the complexity of structural design in buildings and helpthem understand the basic engineering principles of the geodesic dome.

  • NOTES:What Are the Learning Benefits?

    The Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome program andsupplementary lessons in this Educator ResourcePacket meet national standards of learning in math,science, social studies, technology, and visual arts.The specific standards are described on page 6.

    The lessons in this curriculum encourage youngpeople to explore and recognize how, where, andwhy geodesic domes are used. Through hands-on,interdisciplinary lessons that address multiplelearning styles, the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Domeprogram encourages and fosters life skills such ascritical thinking, problem solving, team building,and communication.

    The Educator Resource Packet Includes

    n list of national standards of learning addressed in the program;

    n matrix of optional lessons to enhance studentslearning experience;

    n introductory lessons to more fully prepare studentsfor the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome program;

    n reinforcement lessons for use after the Museumvisit to help students continue their exploration of geodesic domes and design solutions; and

    n vocabulary and lists of supplementary resources.

    2007 National Building Museum | Introduction 3

  • Goals, Objectives, and Skills Used in the Program


    After completing the Fullers Fantastic GeodesicDome program and lessons in the Educator ResourcePacket, students will:

    n have an increased awareness of the geometricshapes and components that make up a geodesic dome;

    n understand the basic structural engineering conceptsthat underlie geodesic dome construction;

    n understand the advantages and disadvantages ofmodern building materials in dome construction; and

    n have an increased awareness of more in-depthconcepts relating to the study of architecture,geometry, and structures.

    4 Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome | 2007 National Building Museum

    American inventor, engineer, and architect R. Buckminster Fuller may be best remembered for developing thestructurally-innovative geodesic dome that is one of the strongest, most cost-effective structures ever devised.The geodesic dome, a system of triangular forms linked together to enclose a space, distributes stress and weight inthe most economical way. A geodesic domes parts are interchangeable enabling it to be easily manufactured andconstructed and increase in height while decreasing in width. Although the majority of geodesic dome experimen-tation and construction took place largely during the 1960s, its popularization and commercialization in the 1970sand 1980s allowed designers to span bigger and larger spaces than previously possible. These domes and othertypes of space framing are commonly used by architects and engineers and can be seen across America supportingsigns, carports, stadium roofs, and concert halls.

    Students participating in the Fullers Fantastic Geodesic Dome program will consider traditional architectural struc-tures including: post and lintel, arch, dome, and truss structures, as well as the modern geodesic dome. Working asa team, the s


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