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The Bridges of Adams County

Summary

Experts

Carpentry Assignments

 Drafting Assignments

Resources

 Student's Page
Scenario-1  Assessment Scenario-2

 Staff Development
Index of Projects

Subject: Bridge Building

Grade Level: Eleventh and Twelfth Grade

Abstract: Assisted by computer software programs and the Internet, junior Carpentry along with junior and senior Drafting students at the Ohio Valley Vocational School in West Union, Ohio will design and build their own balsa wood model bridges. The technological development of bridges throughout history, the science principles that apply to bridge building, and the construction techniques and skills necessary for creating an exemplary bridge will be explored. The hoped-for final product of the activity is student contribution to their community regarding the future construction of bridges within their county.

Learner Description/Environment: Students are juniors and seniors enrolled in the vocational programs of Carpentry and Drafting. The Carpentry Juniors at the Ohio Valley Vocational School are constructors and collaborative problem-solvers by nature. They are naturally drawn towards hands-on experiences with building materials. The activity of bridge building is the kind of authentic activity that brought them to the Carpentry Vocational Program. The bridge building activity will be primarily pursued in the Principles of Technology Room, excepting trips to the computer learning lab from time to time. Internet access through two computers is present within the Principles of Technology room as well as special balsa wood cutters, wood glue, and approximately $1200.00 worth of balsa wood in various lengths, widths and shapes from which the model bridges will be fashioned. The Drafting computer lab has eleven pentium based computers that feature 1.2gig hard drives, 24mg ram, 17" monitors, 2mg video card, network card and are connected to a T-1 line for Internet access. Five large wooden lab tables are present for working with the bridges, and a storage room with a lock is available for keeping the partially constructed bridges safe between classes.

Time Frame: Approximately 12 weeks but open to additional time to pursue the possibilities.

Rationale: Over the past several years the county has been hit hard by damaging floods. The flood waters have damaged or destoried many of our county bridges, some of which date back to the early days of the county. It is our hope that by teaching this type of a unit, that students from our area will better understand the concepts behind bridge construction and what causes bridges to fail or be destoried and how to help prevent their destruction. This project is being taught to further enhance the math skills, science process skills, collaborative work skills and problem-solving skills of the Carpentry students. By providing the Carpentry students with a problem that relates to their own experience, they will enthusiastically use and develop the skills mentioned above in the pursuit of their solution. Internet access will not only provide the student with a source of up-to-date technical knowledge, but will allow them to communicate with engineering teachers and professionals as they build upon their knowledge.

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Learner Outcomes: Students will demonstrate their ability to utilize the process of science, and to apply their knowledge of bridge design to a real-world problem. The student outcomes from the ninth-grade Ohio Science Model addressed are as follows:
(1) Use fundamental forces to explain and make predictions about motions and changes in systems.
(2) Analyze the results of changing a component in simple systems
(3) Relate structure and function in physical systems
(4) Formulate an experimental design to test a given hypothesis
(5) Demonstrate an understanding of units of measure by using an appropriate measuring device for an application.

Alignment with Standards: Alignment with district standards

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Learner Outcomes: Students will demonstrate their ability to utilize the process of science, and to apply their knowledge of bridge design to a real-world problem. The student outcomes from the ninth-grade Ohio Science Model addressed are as follows:
(1) Use fundamental forces to explain and make predictions about motions and changes in systems.
(2) Analyze the results of changing a component in simple systems
(3) Relate structure and function in physical systems
(4) Formulate an experimental design to test a given hypothesis
(5) Demonstrate an understanding of units of measure by using an appropriate measuring device for an application.

Structure of the Learning:

Content:
(1) The technological development of bridges throughout history
(2) Forces acting on the bridge: tension, compression, torsion, actual load, vertical load, horizontal load, live load, dead load.
(3) Vectors
(4) Experimental design
(5) Construction techniques and skills necessary for creating an exemplary bridge
(6) Appropriate safety procedures including waste disposal

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Process:
(1) Introduce the idea of bridge building and the design process
(2) Show videos on bridge disasters and relate it to local bridge damage
(3) Assist students in finding answers to discussion questions as videos are shown
(4) Have county civil engineer, Mr. Wallingford, meet with my class and the Drafting class to discuss the flood of '97 and the contributing factors to the damage done by the flood
(5) Take field trip to County Engineer's office with the Drafting class and bridge sites in the county to inspect firsthand the damage done to bridges in our county
(6) Discuss the field trip and entertain possible bridge designs from the students that could be used to replace these bridges
(7) Define vocabulary words used in the science of bridge building
(8) Perform truss designs with handouts
(9) Review local bridge building contest rules and efficiency formula
http://www.cwru.edu/cse/eciv/bridge.html
      Bridge Building Contest

(10) Show the Case Western Reserve University bridge building competition video
(11) Have students go to computer lab for research
(12) Have student write a research paper of 400-500 words on the history of bridges
(13) Student team will sketch the type of bridge they have chosen to build
(14) Each team will begin testing their particular design using the model bridge software programs
(15) After receiving final approval of their project, materials are handed to the student
(16) Safety talk is given regarding the tools used in creating model bridges
(17) Checklist for bridge is given to each team member
(18) Bridges are built under the supervision of the Junior Carpentry Instructor and the Principles of Technology Instructor
(19) Completed bridges are photographed using a digital camera for the web site
(20) Completed bridges are displayed at the local Shopping Mall as students explain their design to passersby
(21) Model bridges are tested for strength at the local competition between the Drafting class and the Carpentry class
(22) The winning design is analyzed by the class, rebuilt and sent to Case Western Reserve University as our school's entry.
(23) Results of the bridge-building and the final competition are published on our project web site, and also as a news article in the local newspaper
(24) Plans are discussed for having the Carpentry class build a larger scale model of the winning bridge to be installed on campus with the Drafting class creating the blueprint
(25) Assessment will be accomplished by teacher and student. A day-to-day diary will be kept by each student, assessing group process as well as individual process. Final project assessment will be accomplished by both student and teacher using a project rubric.

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Product:
(1) Each student team will produce a model bridge constructed of balsa wood and wood glue.
(2) Each student will write a research paper of 400-500 words on the purpose and history of bridges, including a description of the different types of bridges and and explanation of what makes them strong. This will be assessed by both student and teacher
(3) Overall project assessment will be accomplished by a rubric developed and used by student and teacher

Assessment: Students will be asessed with rubrics by testing their bridge designs both on the computer and actual scale model. The designs will be subjected to a given amount of weight and/or pressure to see at what point the bridge will fail. Their conclusions will be posted on the school's web page (http://www.ohiovalleyvocational.scoca.ohio.gov) as well as the Pre-Engineering Software Corporation's web site (http://www.pre-engineering.com).

Project/Unit Evaluation: The planned staring date for this project is the third trimester of the 1998-99 school year with an ending date of May 14, 1999.

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Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (NCRTEC) which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).

 

Author(s):Randall C. Dunkin rdunkin@bright.net
Richard T. Kuhn rickk@bright.net
School: Ohio Valley Vocational School, West Union, Ohio 45693
Created: May 10, 1998 - Updated: May 18, 1998
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w98/projects/bridges/present.html