Bridge Project-Day One

By Jenna Richter | May 18, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work

We started a project to understand how bridges are made, different types of bridges, forces of compression and tension and the anatomy of a bridge.  Day one included discussing beam, arch and suspension bridges.  We also talked about what bridges the students will cross on Fridays field trip to Seattle including a floating bridge and Montlake or University Bridge which are both drawbridges.

Our first bridge made between books was a simple arch bridge.  We tested the strength of the bridge by adding paperclips.  Finn was able to balance almost 20 paperclips on his arch bridge.

 

Finn adding the weight of paper clips to his arch bridge.
Finn adding the weight of paper clips to his arch bridge.

 

Louie constructed an accordion to replicate a suspension type bridge with ends tucked into the books.  She then balanced even more paper clips than Finn had.

 

The bridge stretched under the weight but did not collapse.
The bridge stretched under the weight but did not collapse.

 

Finally, we constructed a hybrid, we added two sheets of paper to Louie’s accordion and balanced it on top of the books.  Harlow suggested adding a beam to the center of the bridge, once it was added, the bridge seemed invincible!

 

Over a hundred blocks, glue sticks and paperclips were all added without collapsing the bridge.
Over a hundred blocks, glue sticks and paperclips were all added without collapsing the bridge.

 

Next up we will construct truss bridges with marshmallows and toothpicks.  Next week we will head to Thorp Mill to take a look at the foot bridge there and do some architectural drawings.