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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Mid-America Transportation Center

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Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Distance Formula/Bridge Building

Mr. Eric Lockert (Primary)

Brief Description:
Students will use the distance formula to make the shortest bridge, yet under budget, from two points over land and water.

Topics Introduced:

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Suggested Grade Levels:
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

Standards Taught:
12.4.6 Math 2006

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

    * Students will be introduced to what a civil engineer does.
    * Students will understand and use the distance formula to solve a real life problem.

Plan Of Action:

1) An introduction to what a civil engineer does, why do we need civil engineers, and what education one needs to be a civil engineer.
2) Review of the distance formula and some examples
3) Discussion of our problem:
- Our class of junior engineers have been chosen to build a bridge from Huskerville to Redtown. Given the information about the costs and budget, our goal is to build the shortest bridge possible (take less time to travel) and stay under budget.
4)  Show a model built for our problem and show how this can help us in our calculations.
5)  Discussion of other factors that we might have to consider in building our bridge/road.

Data Set Used:

The data has been found on Google maps and put into Geogebra to simulate our road and costs.

Materials Needed:

Overhead Projector
Scratch Paper

Preparation Period:

The only prep needed would be that of getting a projector set up and verifying all the info in the power point

Implementation Period:

Time needed:  45-60 minutes

Geometry first semester

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

Coverage of the distance formula is done in Algebra and early in Geometry

Considerations for Diversity in Education:

This bridge building problem could be adapted to any countries needs.

Building of infrastructure important topic in todays society.

Visual learners will benefit from the geogebra model.

Lesson Files
Bridge Power Point
Power Point presentation about Civil Engineering and Our Bridge/road problem
[size: 1923584] [date uploaded: Jul 14, 2008, 1:45 pm ]

Calculations Worksheet
Practice doing the distance formula
[size: 65024] [date uploaded: Aug 19, 2008, 2:45 pm ]

Review of the steps for the students to use
[size: 38400] [date uploaded: Aug 19, 2008, 2:45 pm ]

Project Calculation W.S.
Worksheet where the students try different spots to build the bridge. Final proposal included
[size: 99328] [date uploaded: Aug 19, 2008, 2:46 pm ]

This geogebra model is used to check the best location for the bridge/road meeting.
[size: 251575] [date uploaded: Aug 19, 2008, 2:53 pm ]

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