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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

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Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Engineering Bridge Structures

Ms. Charmain Satree (Primary)
Mr. David Travis

Brief Description:
In this lesson, students will construct a structure that will support a 12 oz. can of soda, using the materials provided.

Topics Introduced:

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Suggested Grade Levels:
9th Grade
10th Grade

Industrial Technology
Standards Taught:
12.4.1 Math 2006
12.4.6 Math 2006
12.5.1 Math 2006

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

Students will:
1. Explore types of structures and the forces that act upon them.
2. Explore the history of bridges and compare the various types.
3. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of various types of bridges.
4. Recognize factors to consider when designing a structure.
5. Design, build and test a paper structure working from the Design Challenge.

Plan Of Action:

1. Introduce Engineering Structures and how it relates to Transportation Systems.
2. Group interaction with a prompting question. "Do you know of any bridges that have failed recently?" Share ideas.
3. Show videos and images of bridges that have failed. lead a brief discussion on each video or image presented.
4. Deflection Test: Create a bridge using 4 different types of material and test which material is the strongest. This will be done by placing the material between two cement blocks placed 36" apart. Record the results using the "Broken Bridges Worksheet" provided below. Students will test each material by standing on each material (spanning the two cement blocks) to see which is the strongest. Before the test begins, ask the students which one they think will be stronger and why.
5. Discuss and demonstrate different ways to use paper as a structure.
6. Handout "Design Challenge" directions located below. In this challenge, students will design a structure that will support a full 12 ounce can of soda 9 inches above a tabletop using given materials.
7. Handout materials and instruct the students to start. Once finished, review all designs with the class and discuss the results.

Data Set Used:

Students will use various resources provided to collect data during their research of the topic.

Materials Needed:

Broken Bridges Deflection Test.
1. 2 cement blocks
Some material that may be tested in the Deflection Test:
1. Plywood 6"x48"x3/4",
2. Oak board 6"x48"x3/4"
3. I beam 4"x48"x4" placed to the span is 36".
Design Challenge Material:
1. 12 pack of 12 oz. soda,
2. 24 sheets of recycled 8 1/2" x 11 paper
3. 12 pencil (old fashion kind not mechanical)
4. 12 rubber bands
5. 12 paper clips & a roll of masking tape.

Preparation Period:

1. Locate, preview and save videos and images of failed bridges you want to use.
2. Locate and set up materials for Deflection Test and for the Design Challenge.
3. Preview/Practice different ways to use paper as a structure for the demonstration.

Implementation Period:

Lesson will usually last 2 - 50 minute periods. Used in Foundations of Industrial Technology (week 3 semester 1)

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

Engineering and Technology
Science, and Moth (Investigative, Informational & Educational)

Considerations for Diversity in Education:

1. Add multiple modalities during the video presentation.
2. Check lesson for unintended biases.
3. Monitor my questioning skills from time allowed.

Lesson Files
Design Challenge
[size: 20480] [date uploaded: Jul 15, 2008, 3:41 pm ]

Broken Bridges Worksheet
Recording the type of material used and the deflection with weight measuring the deflection.
[size: 25088] [date uploaded: Apr 21, 2009, 2:09 pm ]

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