The Museum’s Education department has prepared several lesson plans and supplemental worksheets for students as they prepare for a visit or extend learning when back in the classroom.

Lesson 1: What is a Skyscraper?

Students inductively discover the characteristics of skyscrapers as they complete a “Skyscraper Detectives” activity that invites them to examine an array of the Museum’s archival images.


Lesson 2: Designing a Skyscraper

Students examine archival photographs of the Empire State Building site and explore its construction. Through analysis of primary source documents, students develop a sense of the scope of skyscraper construction.


Lesson 3: Building a Skyscraper

A variety of exploration stations allow students to explore principles crucial to skyscraper construction. They concurrently learn the terminology and parts of a skyscraper, and practice using these terms with images.


Lesson 4: Changes in a City over Time

Students practice close looking skills using images of the Manhattan skyline from three different time periods. They infer the likely changes that transpire in a city over time,

Green Resources

Collected here are highlights from the Museum’s extensive archive of green multimedia. Classes can explore this material as a group, or individually – either as enrichment or as part of a lesson. Students should notice the changes in building that is leading to more environmentally friendly cities, and consider what green innovations they see in their own lives.

Recommended Reading (K-12)

Books selected by The Skyscraper Museum enhance and enrich student learning about skyscrapers, complete with suggested activities.

ESB Run-Up (4-6)

Students learn about the real, vertical race to the top of the Empire State Building and then use a chart of race results to solve an array of challenging mathematics problems. This engaging activity can be used in a single class period or a take-home activity.

Junior High Level Document-Based Question

The documents in this DBQ vary in their level of difficulty, but prompt the students to write an essay about the Empire State Building.