NARRATOR: The structures around us usually blend into the background of our lives. But sometimes, looking up at a very tall building, riding through a long tunnel or crossing an extremely high bridge, you stop and wonder, "How did they make this?" and "Why did they make it this way?" At those moments, you are marveling over the work of civil engineers.
DAVID PREVATT, Civil Engineer: The fun is coming up with an idea, designing something, drawing it and explaining it to someone and then building it.
SUSAN KNACK, Civil Engineer: I see my designs put into action. I find that very exciting. And I just get to get outside and to do things. And I also feel like I get to help people because you build a structure that helps someone.
NARRATOR: If you looked around a room and then traveled back in time, you would see the hidden work of engineers people who specialize in designing a variety of structures, including very tall buildings called "skyscrapers."
GIRL: I think they're really cool, and I just like how you can see the scenery through the windows. It's really beautiful. Skyscrapers, they're a fun thing to look at from down there.
BOY: I like them because, like, they're tall.
NARRATOR: But how do these tall buildings stand up? The short answer: columns and beams. Your own body provides a great example for learning about them.
KNACK: The human body's a structure. You've got an outer shell that's your skin and then you’ve got the inner bones which form a structure that support your weight.
PREVATT: Imagine your head. Your head is a weight on top of your shoulders and your shoulders are weight on top of your torso. All this weight has to be transferred down to the ground. All right, and that's what a column does. Columns are connected by beams.
KNACK: If you held your arm out and held a book in that, your arm would be acting as a beam. It would support the load and carry it back to your main body... which is then a column that would carry the load to the ground.
PREVATT: Your feet will serve as a foundation, because they support the entire weight of your body. And similarly, the foundation of a building supports the weight of the building.
For me, um... there is nothing more important than my reputation as a civil engineer to provide the best solution to my clients.
KNACK: I take a lot of pride in seeing my design become reality and that applies to when I'm at home building a small bookcase to when I get to build a large building or design a roof or do any sort of structure like that. And so I will go out sometimes when it's completed and drag my family along with me, and say, "Do you see what I got to do?" And I take a lot of pride in that.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.