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bridge building lesson plan

Bridge Building Lesson Plan

Learning Objectives:  Students are introduced to one of the many careers that they can pursue through mathematics.

5 minutes:

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)

5 minute

Watch Youtube video interviewing 3 young structural engineers:

5 minutes:

Use the bridge building game to discuss strategies.

5 minutes:

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?

5 minutes:

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?

10 minutes:

Students start to plan their bridges.  Watch Youtube video about what happens when bridge design goes wrong:

40 minutes:

Building the bridge.

10 minutes:

Weight testing!

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All content on this site has been written by Andrew Chambers (MSc. Mathematics, IB Mathematics Examiner).

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