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Education:Skyscrapers: Societal Impact of Skyscrapers

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10th/11th – U.S. History II

Time Required for Completed Lesson

Two 80 minute blocks or four 40 minute classes


6.1.12.D.6.a, 6.1.12.C.12.c, 6.1.12.C.12.d

Common Core State Standards

RH.9-10.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


  1. Computer with projector and screen
  2. Internet access/PowerPoint (computer lab)
  3. Chart paper/markers

Anticipatory Set

Have students answer this question for homework prior to the lesson: For what purposes were skyscrapers designed and constructed?


  1. Do Now: Have students work in small groups and discuss the answers they came up with for their homework question.
  2. Have each group make a chart listing all the purposes they came up with for the design and construction of skyscrapers and then share their answers as part of a class discussion. As part of the class discussion, the students will come to a class consensus list of the reasons skyscrapers were designed and constructed to be used by each group going forward in the lesson.
  3. After discussing the student answers, the students will continue to work in their groups and evaluate the economic, political, and social impact of skyscrapers on both individuals and cities. Students should have access to the internet to research answers as necessary, and the availability of PowerPoint or some other presentation program to create a presentation of their information. As part of their presentations students should address the following questions:
    1. What technology was necessary to design and construct skyscrapers?
    2. Are skyscrapers a good way to deal with space constraints in urban areas?
    3. How do you think a skyscraper enhances a city?
    4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of skyscrapers?
    5. Do the advantages of skyscrapers outweigh the disadvantages?
    6. Do skyscrapers make sense from an economic standpoint? Social standpoint? Political standpoint?
  4. Upon completion of their created presentations, each group will present their presentations to the class.
  5. Upon completion of their presentations, students will view the YouTube videos: Top Ten Skyscrapers, Extreme Skyscrapers: Precursors to Recession?, Abandoned Detroit Skyscrapers, and then be given the following individual assignment: Using what you have learned about the technology of skyscrapers and their economic, social and political impact, speculate on the future of skyscrapers and what economic, political, and social impact skyscrapers will have on both individuals and cities in the 21st Century.


  1. Special attention to grouping of special needs students.
  2. Those needing extended time to complete work will be accommodated.


  1. Student created (group) presentations evaluating the economic, political, and social impact of skyscrapers on both individuals and cities. You must use a minimum of 2 primary or secondary sources to support your answers and provide proper work citations.
  2. Student created (individual) presentations speculating on the future of skyscrapers and evaluating the economic, political, and social impact they will have on both individuals and cities in the 21st Century. ===


Language Arts/Technology


Explaining the homework (assessment/evaluation) will be the closing of the lesson.


Submitted by: Thomas Glen, Social Studies, Arts High School