Why don’t buildings and bridges fall down more often? Because there are people who have the skills to put together the right materials in the right shape to make them stay up –sometimes even during large earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Have you ever looked at impressive structures like large bridges or skyscrapers and wondered why they don’t fall down more often? Perhaps you are the kind of person who assumes that structures are all pretty safe. But even a quick look at the history of buildings will show you that they don’t always work. What made the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fall apart in a tame wind in 1940? Why do buildings in Los Angeles survive large earthquakes, while others in other parts of the world (such as in Bam, Iran, 2003) are flattened? This course will introduce students to the engineering world that helps to understand these questions, and to lead some people into the professions related to structural engineering.
Algebra skills (formula solving, substitution, and evaluation,) basic geometry knowledge (shapes, areas, visualization of cross-sections)
Students will contribute their own ideas and pursue their own investigations to actively search for knowledge to satisfy their curiosity in the following ways:
- (S)he will build structures of her/his own design, discuss the designs with other students, make predictions about their strength, and test the structures under load.
- (S)he will investigate the relationship between the mathematics of physics and the properties of an actual structure by examining the effects on stress levels when changing physical quantities found in stress equations.
- (S)he will visit a local architect, civil or mechanical engineer to investigate their work, will prepare a report and compare ideas and results with other students in the course to satisfy curiosity about diverse careers and designs.
- (S)he will research historical structures of his/her choice to find out the why and how and who of each as related to materials, technology, and success of the structure, will develop opinions about the structure, prepare a report and discuss the results with other students in the course.
- (S)he will build a portion of a cooperative structure as a member of a class design team.
Engineering, Science - Physical Science
10, 11, 12, 13
Media Kit Shipped:
Media Kit Purchased:
MA NCES Code:
AdvancED, Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools