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Plymouth’s Super Structures

Plymouth’s Super Structures tells the remarkable stories behind Smeaton’s Tower and Plymouth Breakwater.

Join Mr Brunel on a journey of discovery. Through our activity, you’ll find out why these structures have become Plymouth’s ‘friends’ by keeping it safe. You’ll also learn about the amazing inventors and engineers who built these structures.

Super Structures civil engineering digital activity

Here’s what some of the families said when we recently tested the activity:

“Thank you, it was fun 🙂

“It was very educational.”

“We enjoyed the imaginative suggestions and the interactive ideas.”

The activity is suitable for families with children who are 7yrs+. Begin by the iconic Smeaton’s Tower, using your phone to click the link below. It takes 30-45 minutes to fully complete, but you can choose to look at as little or as much as you like. If you’d like some help on using the activity before you get to Smeaton’s Tower, see ‘How to use the activity’ and ‘Handy tips’ below.

The first 40 children who venture into the lighthouse after completing the activity will be able to collect a badge, courtesy of Mr Brunel!

Begin Plymouth’s Super Structures now

Let us know what you think

We are trialling this activity until 30th June and would be really grateful if you could share your feedback. There is a survey at the end of the tour  which will take around 5-7 minutes to complete.

Why not send us a view from the top of Smeaton’s Tower, or other things that you see on this activity? Share these with Mr Brunel’s secretary via @PlymouthMuseum on Twitter and Facebook or @theboxplymouth on Instagram.

How do we use the activity?

You could do this from the comfort of your armchair with some imagination, but it will be more enjoyable to head to Plymouth Hoe. Mr Brunel’s story follows a series of markers that includes text that can be read aloud; there are also images, audio (with text versions) and quiz questions that all the family can enjoy together. There are a couple of short videos which can be watched now or later. If you’d like to find out more about civil engineering afterwards, see ‘How to see more’ near the end for some little extras.

Screenshots of Civil Engineering Super Structures activity

Handy tips

The activity runs on a specially developed mobile site called WPTour. Use the Help link at the bottom of each marker for technical tips as you go.

If it is a sunny day, you may want to adjust your phone’s screen brightness or find a bit of shade so that you can enjoy the images better – most will enlarge by clicking on them.  The audio may be heard more clearly by using headphones due to the breezy location of the Hoe. Before you begin, it’s a good idea to charge your phone and make sure you have internet data!

We estimate that the activity can be completed using 2MB by scrolling through the text without playing the audio/video and enlarging just a few images where you are directed to. The activity is estimated to use around 27MB if you enlarge all the images and play all the audio/video.

Accessing Smeaton’s Tower

Mr Brunel highly recommends that if you have time and are able, a visit to the top of Smeaton’s Tower is a wonderful experience. Please visit the Getting Here page for more information about access and note that the nearest toilets are near Valenti’s Cafe. For the first 40 children who venture into the lighthouse, they can collect a badge courtesy of Mr Brunel.