Designing Reliable and Resilient Truss Based Bridges
|Topic||Engineering Design, Structure, Material Economics|
|Program||Learning Exchange Program|
|Developed by||Hoang Nguyen|
|Developer Type||Elementary students|
Overview / Purpose / Essential Questions
This lesson plan aims to introduce students to fundamental structures that engineers utilize in their projects. One such structure is the truss, a simple structure that can be manipulated to produce formidable structures. In this project, students cement what they learn about stable structures in a hands-on bridge building project.
Performance / Lesson Objective(s)
- Understand what makes trusses strong
- Minimize material usage and optimize structure functionality
- Introduce the idea of joint analysis at a very basic level
- Popsicle sticks
- Hot glue
- Super glue
- Zip ties
- Dry erase board
- Dry erase markers
This lesson is largely motivated by the desire to have students apply concepts they learn, the theory and facts about structural stability, in practical ways. By having students model a bridge, designed specifically to withstand a load, they will have gained an insight into the realm of physics. Keeping it elementary, we hope to introduce concepts as fundamental as Newton's laws of motion so as to help students understand them in a materialized fashion. By seeing their bridge fail or succeed after having the loads applied, they will conceptualize physics at play.
- Designing individual models on dry erase boards
- Modifying designs based on "lectures"
- Asking self-reflecting questions
- Reviewing concepts
- Have students draw/design what they initially believe to be a stable bridge.
- Give lecture about the importance of trusses in a bridge structure
- Have students modify their designs
- Once students are ready, have they present their designs supplemented by an explanation of stability. Use Socratic method to suggest further improvements.
- Once they have a final design, provide them with a fixed amount of Popsicle sticks they can use, and have them start building their bridges.
- Construction comes in three phases: building the bottom/base, and the two sides.Use zipties to bind the components together.
- Once every student has a final structure, have them speculate the best performing structure.
- Test the structures, one by one, by wrapping a bucket to the bridges. Incrementally put books into the bucket.
- Record all the results
- Have students examine and analyze their findings.
Wrap up / Conclusion
Students were engaged while completing this project, and at the end, they were all able to gain a notion of Newton's laws. While they were not able to explicit explain the principles, they often invoked their projects, explaining the principles very crudely in terms of how they were related to the success/failure of their projects.
|Audience(s)||Middle school students
|Created||01/23/2015 06:32 PM|
|Updated||12/20/2018 11:40 AM|