Building Bridges

**An Internet WebQuest on The Study of Bridges**

**Teacher Page**

| Main Page | Student Page | Roles & Resources |

"Construction technology is the study of the efficient practice of using production and management processes to transform materials and assemble components into buildings, and heavy industrial and civil structures that are built on site" Wescott and Henak, eds. (1994)

Students should understand that bridges are structures that surround us, in our world and in our language. Quotes are familiar to all such as: "Bridges to tomorrow" or "Bridges to discovery" and "Don't burn any bridges behind you."

building. Students will explore bridges throughout the world, types of bridges, the mathematics of bridge building, and

how to construct a bridge.

This WebQuest, geared for middle school students (sixth grade specifically), attempts to explore information about bridges. Using cooperative groups to present and defend their own creative bridge construction. The entire class will be able to understand the complexity of bridges, an everyday experience taken for granted by most. By dividing into class into cooperative groups of 2-3 students, the class will be able to work together to tackle the concepts of bridge building. The Internet will provide all the resources that the students will need to explore this topic.

Content Area and GradeThis WebQuest was originally designed for sixth graders in a middle school science classroom, but can be adapted to any middle or high school level. There are links provided to enable a teacher to pick and choose whichever direction than needs to be taken to address the level of the student and the focus of the class.

Several concepts (overlapping subject areas) will be presented during this WebQuest:

- Tour the bridges around the world. (Social Studies)
- Learn about the physics (a special type of physical science) that makes them work! (math and science)
- Understanding of enhancing research and investigation through the use of technology. (technology)
- Look at materials and methods of bridge construction. (math and science)
- Research, presentation, and articulation of a bridge model and the how and why of the chosen construction methods (language arts)

Curriculum StandardsSixth to eighth grade science and math standards and links can be drawn from the Tennessee Curriculum Framework.

Goals:

- When finished learning about these concepts, teams of students will use their knowledge and successfully build their own bridge. Teams will be able to defend the why and how of their bridge construction.
- By incorporating prior knowledge with the process of observation, a better understanding of one's environment may develop.
- Scientific investigation is enhanced through the use of technology.

Learning Expectations:Through the investigation of meaningful problems, individually or in cooperative groups while using appropriate technology, all students in grades 6-8, building upon K-5 expectations, will be able to:

- Recognize design components which occur regularly.
- Understand principles of good design.
- Analyze how structural components react to stresses.
- Compare the strengths of different components of a structure.
- Create procedures for constructing and testing components of a structure.
- Use some of the elements and principles of design to build objects.
- Examine experiences with various structures in the home and in the school.
- Explore the benefits and limitations of structures.
- Investigate the technical, social, and cultural implications of design and construction of objects.
- Promote both intuitive, imaginative thought and the ability to evaluate ideas, processes, experiences and objects in meaningful contexts.
- Develop ways to evaluate creative processes and projects.
- Use metaphoric and analogical thinking to create insights and build understanding about structures.
- Determine that real-life problems often have more than one solution.
- Discover relationships and patterns.
- Imagine and manipulate objects and ideas.
- Provide arguments related to principles and to evidence for ideas and choices expressed.
- Discuss why structures are constructed.
- Demonstrate understanding of the concepts of perimeter, area, volume, angle measure, capacity, weight and mass, and of any related formulas; demonstrate an understanding of rates and other derived and indirect measurements;
- In order to develop algebraic thinking through an understanding of patterns and functions, the mathematics curriculum must include problems which require students to describe, extend, analyze, and create a wide variety of patterns and functions using appropriate materials and representations such as tables, graphs, and mathematical notation. represent situations with tables, graphs, verbal rules, and equations and describe the interrelationships of the representations; identify patterns and functions from statistical data
- In order to develop an understanding of statistics and probability, the mathematics curriculum must include problems which require students to collect, organize, represent, and interpret data; make inferences and predictions; present and evaluate inferences and predictions; present and evaluate arguments based on data analysis; and model situations to determine theoretical and experimental probabilities.
- Collect, organize, and describe data in order to make conjectures; formulate and test hypotheses, draw conclusions, and make convincing arguments that are based on data analysis
- By incorporating prior knowledge with the process of observation, a better understanding of one's environment may develop.
- Scientific investigation is enhanced through the use of technology.
- The reading and interpretation of measuring instruments are (is) necessary in determining length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature.
- Safety procedures are introduced prior to and practiced during all data collection.
- An equation containing a variable may be true for just one value of the variable.
- In formation is organized into simple tables and graphs to identify relationships.
- Mathematical statements can be used to describe the magnitudes of change one quantity has on another.
- The graphic display of numbers may help to show patterns such as trends, varying rates of change, gaps,or clusters.
- Written, verbal presentations can be used to interpret and expand more abstract mathematical concepts.
- Prior knowledge provides a foundation for new learning experiences.
- Human beings learn complicated concepts from others through various methods of communcation.
- Models are often used to represent concepts of various magnitudes.
- The usefulness of a graph or drawing is determined by the scale utilized.
- Specialized structures perform specific functions.
- All objects in the universe are affected by the gravitational forces.
- Any change or error in design may affect function.
- Design usually requires taking constraints into account.
- Estimation of probability can be based on data from similar conditions in the past or what is known about current situations.
- An investigator's credibility depends upon accurate record keeping, openness, and replication.
- People who engage in design and technology use scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
- Observe and compare the shapes found in some natural and some human-constructed objects.
See also the National Science Standards

## The Process and Resources Needed

Your job as the teacher in this WebQuest is to lead the classroom teams through fun, exploration, learning, and discovery of bridges and bridge construction. Each group will complete the tasks and learn about bridges by fulfilling a particular role and meeting certain responsibilities. The teacher sites provided will provide still more information, direction, and lesson plans that will enable you to facilitate this project successfully. The process can be viewed on the student page.

You'll begin by ensuring that everyone gains background information bridges. You will become knowledgeable on the subject, read the provided materials carefully, motivate students, and study available links in order to plan effectively to assist teams of students to eventually build their own bridge.

Teacher Resources for the Bridge Project

Why build bridges and what do they cost our nation

Free software for a bridge building program

Internet Bridge Scavenger Hunt

Strength and Weakness of Materials

Guidelines for Bridge Building

**Evaluation and
Assessment**

The bridges will be tested for strength and endurance. There is a rubric for understanding how the grade will be achieved. Please study the rubric and adapt to your situation and classroom. All students should also be able to answer and discuss the following questions:

**Evaluation**

Questions for the individual groups:

1.How did you come up with the initial design for your bridge?

2.Did your design change as you built your bridge?

3.Which geometric shapes did you use in your bridge? Why?

4.How does the strength of the bridge compare to the weight of
the bridge?

5.Would you make any changes in the design of your bridge?

For the large group:

Questions for the whole group:

1.Which bridge was the longest? Tallest?
Strongest? Heaviest? Why?

2.What materials do you envision being used in future bridges?

3.How can computers help design bridges?