Touching the Sky: Learn About Skyscrapers

Did you know that famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a mile-high skyscraper almost 65 years ago? Modern skyscrapers aren’t even that high yet but they are getting closer. Librarians Janet from the West Belmont Branch and Rebecca from the Lincoln Park Branch love skyscrapers. Read on for their suggestions on how to reach for the sky!

In Awesome Engineering: Skyscrapers, you can follow the development of skyscrapers through the years as they have grown taller and more fantastical.

Discover towering structures, how they work and who designed them in Who Built That? Skyscrapers by Didier Cornille. This colorful book that features eight structures from the Eiffel Tower to the Burj Khalifa.

From the first to the tallest, learn facts and details about these amazing buildings in Libby Romero’s Skyscrapers.

Younger readers and listeners can follow the rhyming text in Anna Suen’s Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper to learn how a skyscraper is built from the ground up.

How high can you build?

Exert your own force using paper cups and cookie sheets to try this STEM challenge. Think about how architects figure out how to distribute weight when they create building designs.

Use this classic team-building activity to see how high you can build a newspaper tower. Alternatively, try making a pyramid or geometric dome. All you need is newspaper, masking tape and a stapler.

You don't need fancy materials to build! For anyone who still likes to play with their food, try gathering some pasta, straws and something to use as a base, like clay, to build a tall tower!

Reflect on Your Learning

  • Why do you think big cities like Chicago have a lot of tall buildings? Would you like to live in a skyscraper? What would that be like?
  • Would you rather be an architect who plans and designs or a construction worker who builds skyscrapers that touch the sky?