Educators Smithsonian Education
Building Up, Breaking Down
Getting Started

This issue explores the weathering of buildings, which begins the minute they are assembled. Physical breakdown (such as rock fracture), chemical weathering and pollution are all key ingredients in this discussion of the geology of the built environment.

In the first lesson, students create drawings of urban and rural environments in order to identify and interpret the similarities and differences. The second lesson is an “in-school field trip” requiring the students to identify the structural materials found on campus, as well as the substances used to make each material. The culminating activity is an off-site visit to a cemetery to view the effects of weathering on monument stones.

Note: This is an archival publication dating back to 2000 and any supplements or suggestions for off-site education may not be available.

Download "Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Building Up, Breaking Down" (PDF).

Required Materials

Download the PDF
Building Up, Breaking Down

Smithsonian in Your Classroom is produced by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. Teachers may duplicate the materials for educational purposes.

Smithsonian Institution

Websites A-Z

Adult Learning

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access ©2013 Smithsonian Institution About UsContactSite MapTerms of UsePrivacy PolicySubscribe