Project 2 - Bridge Building
This project ties directly into a unit of Science in the grade 7 curriculum. Students are introduced to bridge building in the unit on Structure And Design in the course. As a project, the students are required to design and build a bridge of predetermined dimensions and materials. They will have the structure evaluated for appearance, utility, effectiveness and strength(if they desire).
Students work in groups of two or they can construct it on their own. Parent participation is allowed, and indeed, encouraged. They are limited to popsicle sticks, carpenter's glue and dental floss. The bridge must span 70 cm and allow for 15cm clearance on the platform. The students must submit a paper describing their technology model - procedure, design, problems, hypothesis, conclusions.
On one specific day, students bring their bridges for evaluation. Strength tests are conducted for the day. Strength factors are determined by Load divided by Bridge Weight. A deflection of 5cm from horizontal or a complete break determine its stress level. The students are completely involved with all aspects of the evaluation as well. They are the testers, the officials, and the recorders. Pictures will be taken with a digital camera of the testing and the whole project is put into a web page format and put up on the St. Paul's site for the students and their parents to see. Of course, the web page also makes it available to other schools who will be able to get the full project online for their classes.
The Structure and Design component of the grade seven course Science Directions 7concerns itself with bridge building, strength components of various materials, and the functionality of various designs. This project addresses these issues in a very real and concrete manner.
Students have to not only design the bridge, they must write up their results and be able to discuss them with the class. This, of course, adds a language arts component to the activity.
They will be fully involved with the stress tests, the picture taking and the web page design. These features will give the students a practical reason for technology applications directly related to this activity.
The learning outcomes will be varied:
The STELLAR School Internet connection is crucial to this project's success to make this project available to other schools in the province. Also, students are able to evaluate other bridge building pages on the Internet. And, finally, the students will be learning how to communicate their learning experience to others through the medium of the Internet.
The learning outcomes referred to above will be used by teachers to determine the
students' level of achievement in this project. They will also be given a grade as this
is a part of their Science Unit on Structure & Design