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The Poetry of Science

Mindful Modeling With Poetry

Take 5!

  1. As a backdrop for this poem, display a computer model of a building. One resource is archKIDecture (see Internet Resources). Then read the poem aloud, stopping briefly wherever punctuation suggests a pause.
  2. Share the poem again, and invite students to join in on the words, Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and then click-click-click-click-click! while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Talk with students about the different things that engineers do. One helpful resource is DiscoverE (see Internet Resources).
  4. Use this poem to discuss the tools that engineers and scientists might use in their work, including computers and cameras. Talk about the role of simulations in the design phase and what the pros and cons might be (save time and money, but cannot anticipate every physical obstacle).
  5. Link this poem with another about building, “The Great Pyramid of Giza” by Laura Purdie Salas (see Internet Resources), or for a look at a building across the ages, share The House by J. Patrick Lewis (see Resources).
Computer Models
Computer Models

We have an engineer
visiting our classroom.
She shows us
how she uses her computer
to test designs:
Plan A,
Plan B,
Plan C.
She doesn’t
have to build
a whole building
to see if it’s better
to have six floors or seven or
She can calculate
how much steel and glass
each different plan
would need,
how much heat
it would use and lose,
how many hours
of construction time
and the cost.
She can tell us everything
about the plans, and—
with her camera
and five minutes
of cut and paste
and Photoshop,
she can put us
inside her buildings,
waving hello!

Poem © 2014 Janet Wong from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong © 2014 Pomelo Books; illustration by Frank Ramspott from The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids © 2015 Pomelo Books.


Lewis, J. P. 2009. The House. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions

Internet Resources


DiscoverE: What Engineers Do

Janet Wong, Website of author

“The Great Pyramid of Giza” by Laura Purdie Salas


Wong, J. 2014. “Computer Models” in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, eds. S. Vardell and J. Wong, 196. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books.

Literacy Elementary

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