Engineering the City

How Infrastructure Works: Projects and Principles for Beginners
Book cover: 'Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works'
Matthys Levy
Richard Panchyk
1 556 524 196
Chicago Review Press
Number of pages: 
132 pages

Reading Level: Ages 9-12

I must admit that this is not a topic in which I am particularly interested. I'm very secure knowing that the water will be available when I turn on a tap or that the bridge I'm driving over will hold me.I'm not sure if I want to know what happens after I flush a toilet or where the garbage goes. That being said, this book helped me to understand these mundane things using terms that are easily understandable, describing activities that encourage further learning, and showing pictures that are clean and clear and make their point.

This book would make a great secondary resource for high school level physics, engineering or civics courses in that it helps define and explain how the things we take for granted work -- why there are different bridges for different applications; what the water table is and why it's important; ways and means of transporting citizens; and many other topics. The simple line-drawn diagrams and illustrations ease understanding of some of the more technical information. Published by Chicago Review Press, this book is supposedly for 9-year-olds and up. I think, unless your middle school student is very "into it", this resource would be better suited to high school students. Some of the activities are a bit blah or extremely elementary, but taking into consideration the subject matter, the activities do help illustrate the concept or principle described in the accompanying text.

Chapters include: water, transportation by water, irrigation, different ways of transportation, trains of all types, different styles of bridges, wires/telephones and wireless communication, plumbing and sewers, refuse disposal or reuse, and pollution from acid rain, global warming and water pollution. This book would make a great text for a co-op class of high schoolers; the projects done in a group setting with a bit of competition thrown in. For instance, to illustrate the concepts from the chapter on different styles of bridges, a bridge-building contest using the designs described would be great. This book would also be suitable for ideas for science fair projects.

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