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Knowledge Builds for East Lake’s Young Architects

Skyscrapers were rising in the Magnet classroom at East Lake Elementary School as fourth graders tackled an oversized engineering project.

Magnet and STEAM teacher Lisa Gennardo tasked students with building skyscrapers of the future using recycled materials from the classroom. Each structure needed to include a tourist attraction and it had to have features that appealed to both children and adults. Some of the attractions that students designed were museums, restaurants, rollercoasters and theaters. One student even added an elevator that was supported by magnets.

Ms. Gennardo said that before construction began, students research different skyscrapers around the world. Growing up in proximity to New York City had them familiar with many of the buildings they studied. Just like real architects, they had to draw up plans before building.

Students used cardboard, construction paper and other items from the classroom for their skyscrapers. Some even brought toys from home.

“We let nothing go to waste here,” Ms. Gennardo said, noting that it only requires simple materials to provide students with a meaningful learning experience. “We repurpose everything and allow students to show their creativity.”