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The Strongest Bridge

6-7 yrs old

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Art and Design

Climate & Environment

Science

You are part of an engineering team of 4 experts. As part of this team you must design a bridge that will withstand a natural disaster.

avatar Submitted By: Cynthia Gozzard

February 27, 2017

Skills

  • Collaboration
  • Project Based Learning

External References

Skyway Bridge Collapse

The Skyway Bridge (Florida) video can be found on YouTube (skyway bridge disaster REMEMBERED) or on a more secure educational link like Learn360.com

Easy Science For Kids

This website offers information on a variety of types of bridges and may help students to choose a bridge based on it's strength elements

Learning Objectives

  • Students will have the opportunity to consider how the effects of forces from natural phenomena impact their bridge (e.g., tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis) on the natural and built environment
  • Students are encouraged to use scientific inquiry/research skills to investigate how structures are built to withstand forces (materials and construction techniques)

Guiding Ideas

Students may be able to easily understand the concept of a bridge and why these structures are essential to the supply and demand of the world we live in. Can students understand the pressure that forces of nature put on structures? Can students use materials and design ideas to strengthen their structure(s) to withstand a natural disaster? Students will be introduced to the topic of forces acting on structures by watching a video of the Skyway Bridge collapse in Florida.

Student Activities

  • Video Activity – in small groups students should make a list of reasons why the bridge collapsed and what changes could be made to make the bridge stronger. Groups will be given a chance to share their ideas.
  • Problem/Challenge introduced – In the scenario below students are asked to redesign the Skyway Bridge, this could be modified to have students create a bridge of their own with strength elements in mind.

You are part of an engineering team of 4 experts. As part of this team you must redesign the original Skyway Bridge in Florida. As an expert engineer you will be sure to suggest the best materials for the build and make sure the bridge is strong. With your team of experts rebuild the bridge according to your new designs.

Performance Expectations

  • Design the bridge you wish to build (label materials and points of strength within your structure using signs in Minecraft)
  • Conference with another group and make at least two design improvements to your bridge
  • Conference with the teacher to make sure you are ready to build
  • Use the camera and portfolio function to document the creation process of the bridge
  • Be sure to prepare a script (audio or written, point form) so that you can explain how you designed your bridge from your expert opinion

Minecraft Elements (creative mode)

  • Multiple groups are able to build in the same Minecraft world. This may allow additional collaboration opportunities as well as providing an environment to learn from one another.

*Digital Citizenship – when students are building in the same world it is important that rules are established to help guide expectations. For example, if you don't build it, you shouldn't break it.

  • Brainstorm a list of strong building materials to use to support the bridge and post in classroom as a support
  • Discuss the purpose of the bridge and how different designs may suit different purposes (walking bridge, covered bridge, covering a large body of water, bridge for car/truck travel)
  • Teacher may use classroom mode to communicate with students and monitor their learning. Teacher can make anecdotal notes about how each team member is fulfilling their duties

Culminating activity

Students will be asked to share their bridges with other groups in a 'Gallery Walk'. Students walk around the classroom or log into the Minecraft world and view one another's creations. The outcomes of the student projects can be shared via docs.com or SWAY (link in classroom newsletter)

Skills

  • Collaboration
  • Project Based Learning

External References

Skyway Bridge Collapse

The Skyway Bridge (Florida) video can be found on YouTube (skyway bridge disaster REMEMBERED) or on a more secure educational link like Learn360.com

Easy Science For Kids

This website offers information on a variety of types of bridges and may help students to choose a bridge based on it's strength elements