Bridge Day 2-Building from Plans

By Jenna Richter | May 19, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work

Yesterday, we broke into two groups and I asked students to follow simple diagrams to create two different kinds of bridges from toothpicks and marshmallows.  In the past, students have worked independently on engineering challenges and worked from their own imaginations but today, I wanted to explore collaboration and following blue prints.  I first asked if anyone had built a Lego set on their own as our plans were similar, without words and easy to follow.  Everyone said yes.  I laid out two different plans and let them see that they could not build separately  because the sides of each triangle or square was part of another triangle or square.

Sides were constructed first then all hands were needed to hold them in place as they secured the top supports.
Sides were constructed first then all hands were needed to hold them in place as they secured the top supports.

 

Each group built and tested their first bridge then I switched their directions and they built a second bridge from instructions.

 

Audrey, Finn and Boden took turns attaching sections.
Audrey, Finn and Boden took turns attaching sections.

 

Next, I asked them to use what they learned about the stability of different geometric shapes to design and build their own bridge.

 

Emmett used concepts from both beam construction bridges and truss construction bride design.
Emmett used concepts from both beam construction bridges and truss construction bridge design.

 

Today we will explore weights and measurement of humans for a experiment in tension.  Comparing weights and trying to align two teams similar in mass then attempting a suspension bridge tug of war where nobody wins.