Bridge Building Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: Students are introduced to one of the many careers that they can pursue through mathematics.
Brainstorm – why is mathematics useful for engineering? What kinds of jobs do engineers do? (refer to maths careers site – a large number of well paid jobs are in engineering)
Watch Youtube video interviewing 3 young structural engineers:
Use the bridge building game to discuss strategies.
Discuss the different types of bridge structures – plain bridge, arch bridge, suspension bridge. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these? Brief discussion about force dissipation – which shapes do this well?
Set up the challenge – each group must build a bridge to span a 1 metre gap. The bridge must be wide enough to support a weight and the stronger the better! Resources are: straws, newspaper, sellotape. Sellotape and newspaper are free – but straws are 1000B a straw. How cheaply can a design be made?
Students start to plan their bridges. Watch Youtube video about what happens when bridge design goes wrong:
Building the bridge.