Civil engineering is a field for problem solvers. From setting up water systems for drinking and irrigation to major transportation systems like highways, airports, subways, and railroads, civil engineers take on big challenges. In today's world, civil engineers also face big challenges: providing the modern infrastructure for a growing human population, and finding ways to do this that are environmentally sound, safe, and cost-effective. Experience what it is like, on a smaller scale, to tackle these problems.

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Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. They will design and build the tallest possible tower using nothing but paper and tape, but there's an additional twist on this classic activity. The tower must support a heavy weight at the top without collapsing! Optionally, they can enter their designs in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge for a chance to win a cash prize for your school! Teachers, note that middle school and high school versions of… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. They will design and build the tallest possible tower using nothing but paper and tape, but there's an additional twist on this classic activity. The tower must support a heavy weight at the top without collapsing! Optionally, they can enter their designs in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge for a chance to win a cash prize for your school! Teachers, note that elementary and high school versions of this… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
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Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-2nd
Your students have probably walked or ridden over a bridge at some point in their lives. In this engineering activity they will design and make bridges out of folded pieces of paper, and test how much weight they can hold with pennies. How does the shape of a bridge affect its strength? Let your students explore and find out with this lesson! This lesson can be expanded to a second lesson looking at how the material a bridge is made out of can change its strength; see second lesson for details. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
  • K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
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Explore how technology can save lives in this fun engineering lesson plan! Earthquakes can cause devastation and loss of life when they strike, but earthquake-resistant buildings can stay standing and keep people safe. In this project, your students will build model earthquake-resistant buildings and measure their movement during a simulated earthquake using Google's Science Journal app. A French translation of this activity is available. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. The lesson is based on the real-world challenge of designing an observation tower. Can your students maximize the height of the tower while minimizing the amount of material needed to construct it? Optionally, students can enter their designs in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge for a chance to win a cash prize for your school! Teachers, note that elementary and middle school versions of this lesson plan… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Sea level rise and more-intense storms, both driven by climate change, threaten coastal communities around the globe. In this engineering project, your students will build a model coastline and design a seawall to protect houses from waves as the sea level rises. Remote learning adaptation: This lesson plan can be conducted remotely. Materials can be distributed for each student to work independently at home on the challenge and report back. Alternatively, students can design a barrier (draw… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-8th
Coming up with new ideas is hard! How do engineers design new things or improve existing ones? Engineers and inventors use different brainstorming techniques to help them think outside the box and come up with new ideas. In this lesson plan, your students will practice brainstorming with a method called SCAMPER. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
Steel, concrete, wood—real bridges are built from many different materials. How do engineers decide which materials to use? In this activity, your students will expand on the previous paper bridges lesson plan by building and testing bridges made from different materials. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-PS1-2. Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus solely on heating. They learn how insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
  • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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Free science fair projects.