Beams and Columns
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To initiate a more open-ended
activity with these materials, use the clay beam molds to make raw materials
for building at different scales and try some of these suggestions.
Make a lot of clay beams on
both the small and large scales. Use them as basic building materials
to build structures of the students' choice. In the first session, try
building on each scale without mixing pieces. Ask your students to compare
the structures that they built out of big pieces with the structures that
they built out of small pieces. How were the structures similar? How were
they different? Were there things that you could do at one scale but not
at the other? In other sessions, students can try mixing large- and small-scale
beams. How did they use each of the sizes in their mixed structure?
Build trees. Cut a
small beam about 3 cm long and use it as a tree trunk. Add clay
to it to fill out the top of the tree. Cut a large beam four times as
long to make a bigger tree. Add clay to fill out its top of this bigger
tree. Ask your students to compare the small tree and the large tree.
Can the two trees have the same proportions? How does the scale change
force you to make a different looking tree?
Build animals. Cut
four small beams about 3 cm long and use them as animal legs.
Add clay to make the body, head, tail, and other parts of the animal.
Cut four large beams each four times as long as the small beams. Again,
add clay to make a body, head, tail, and other parts of the bigger animal.
Ask your students to compare the small animal and the large animal. What
do their animals look like (e.g., a dog, a mouse, an elephant)? Can the
two animals have the same proportions? How does the scale change force
you to make a different animal?