The National Building Museum welcomes school groups of all ages for programs led by our professional education staff. We also provide schools and educators with training and learning opportunities to bring the built environment into the classroom.
The Museum’s Distance Learning programs bring our educators into your classrooms through livestreamed programs.
45 minutes, Grades 4-9, fees apply
Investigate the role of engineers who work to make buildings around us stronger and safer. Explore how forces such as compression and tension act on buildings and how engineers address these challenges using columns, arches, trusses and domes. Students see engineering principles at work in the Museum’s historic building and other famous buildings from across the globe, represented in miniature in the Museum’s exhibition Around the World in 80 Paper Models.
9:10 am | 10:10 am | 12:10 pm | 2:10 pm EST
10:10 am | 1:10 pm EST
CityVision is a multi-visit program for 15-30 students from one or two middle schools in the fall or spring semester. Students spend one full school day for twelve weeks at the Museum, working with Museum staff as well as volunteer professionals and university students in the fields of architecture, urban planning, or education. They work in studio teams to explore D.C. neighborhoods, develop a creative solution to addresses community needs, and defend their designs to a panel of professionals in a culminating public presentation.
The Museum’s Teaching Kits provide all of the resources and materials needed to teach multi-lesson units on the built environment in schools.
Bridge Basics (grades 5-9) uses bridge engineering and design as vehicles for exploring and solving problems. Students learn about fundamental structural engineering concepts and design, construct, and test model bridges using playing cards and other materials. Students work in teams to build model bridges that solve transportation problems while balancing issues of aesthetics, geography, materials, and cost.
Designing for Disaster (grades 7-9) teaches students about the tools design professionals employ to limit the impact of natural disasters on structures, communities, and people. Students are introduced to the consequences of natural disasters and are then tasked with identifying ways to protect against these hazards.
Green Community (grades 5-8) provides a comprehensive approach to studying green, sustainable communities. Students and educators create a town from the ground up –complete with model buildings, land use categorization, and planning strategies. Using the design process, students develop 21st century skills such as communication, cooperative learning, decision making, analysis, creativity, and innovation.
The Teacher Working Group helps the Museum serve the needs of teachers in the Washington, DC area and beyond by providing valuable feedback on programming for students and teachers. Members assist in the creation and evaluation of programs for schools, professional development opportunities for educators, and classroom resources. They bring knowledge and expertise in classroom curricula, local and national standards, and a variety of subject areas. They also share their perspectives on integrating museums, libraries, and other cultural organizations into their teaching. Eligible teachers are employed in an accredited public, public charter, private, or independent school in the metropolitan Washington area.
Teacher Working Group members:
- Engage in an enriching partnership over a two-year period
- Collaborate with other members on focused projects
- Create new pathways to use the built environment in teaching about math, social studies, science, art, and history
- Learn new ways to use objects and museums to enhance their teaching
- Enjoy free access to Museum exhibitions and reduced rate on select programs
School programs are generously supported by: The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. Engineering Solutions, an engineering-focused, livestream educational experience is generously supported by United Engineering Foundation. Geppetto Catering, Inc. is the official meal provider for all education programs at the National Building Museum.