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Buckminster Fuller: Geodesic Domes and Beyond

In this Unit of Study, students in grades 3-5 learned about the famous artist/inventor/architect/designer Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller. In the beginning we discussed the statement: “An inventor is not an artist,” and then looked closely at an “invention” and “artwork” to find similarities and differences. We focussed on Fuller’s Geodesic Dome, and students learned that the triangle is the strongest architectural shape, which is why Fuller’s domes could be so large and not have any supporting walls inside, creating a huge open space. Then we were divided into teams (work tables) and each team worked together to create a Geodesic Dome-inspired…sculpture? building? invention? (they got to decide what is should be called). We used plastic needles and thread to sew together three straws to create many triangles as our building blocks first. Then we used pipe cleaners to attach the triangles together to form a new piece.

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