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Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - The Purpose of this Section

This Apply section will help students understand how robots are used in the real world. Begin the section by asking students to identify some of the largest buildings in the world. List the students’ answers in the classroom so they can be referenced after the reading. The Apply section also discusses how using conversion factors and scaling can be used in a VEX competition setting.

These Apply pages can be worked through as a class.

  • Together, read the Apply page “Scaling in Architecture.”

  • Facilitate a class discussion on the topic using the Motivate Discussion questions. Encourage students to document their work and thoughts in their engineering notebooks.

  • Together, read the page “The Advantage of Robot Math.”

  • Facilitate a class discussion on the topic using the Motivate Discussion questions. Encourage students to document their work and thoughts in their engineering notebooks.

Scaling and Drawings
Image Source Credit: BurjKhalifaHeight.svg: *BurjDubaiHeight.svg: Rama derivative work: Astronaut (talk) derivative work: WelcometoJurassicPark (talk), Scaling and drawings from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BurjKhalifaHeight.svg and http://www.skyscrapercenter.com All rights reserved. [CC BY-SA 3.0]

An architect is a person who designs buildings or other structures. Architects need to draw scaled-down blueprints or images in order to design structures that are appropriate in size, height, etc. Could you imagine only having a small piece of land to build a building on, and it did not fit? Especially in areas that are limited on the amount of space they can use such as clustered cities. Architects scale their blueprints to size so that they fully understand how much material they need as well as make sure everything will fit properly.

There have been many famous architects throughout history. Some well-known structures include the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which has been the tallest building in the world since 2009 at a total height of 829.8 m. However, the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia scheduled to open in 2020 will become the world's tallest skyscraper. Intricate planning and calculations were required for such vast and complex structures to be built properly.

Scaling structures in the form of blueprints and sketches not only allows the designer to plan accordingly. Scaling also allows structures and buildings to be compared to each other. The image above required scaling in order to compare the relative sizes of the structures next to each other. Each actual size of 100 m is represented by approximately 10 mm on the drawing. You can view the ratio of drawing size/actual size as 10 mm/ 100 m.

Motivate Discussion icon Motivate Discussion

Q: In what other scenarios other than architecture would scaling be beneficial?
A: Answers may vary, but some examples could include showing objects such as model cars or the planets in the solar system. Both are extremely large in daily life, but can be scaled down to observe and even touch.

Q: The Empire State Building stands a total of 443.2 m tall. Using the ratio of 10 mm/ 100 m, how many mm tall is it if you were to draw it?
A: The drawing size of the Empire State Building is 44.32 mm. Actually measure the drawing using meter stick or ruler - how close is the scale?