In this math activity, students conduct a strength test using modeling clay, creating their own stress vs. strain graphs, which they compare to typical steel and concrete graphs. They learn the difference between brittle and ductile materials and how understanding the strength of materials, especially steel and concrete, is important for engineers who design bridges and structures.
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Students explore how tension and compression forces act on three different bridge types. Using sponges, cardboard and string, they create models of beam, arch and suspension bridges and apply forces to understand how they disperse or transfer these loads.
Students are presented with a brief history of bridges as they learn about the three main bridge types: beam, arch and suspension. They are introduced to two natural forces tension and compression common to all bridges and structures. Throughout history, and today, bridges are important for connecting people to resources, places and other people. Students become more aware of the variety and value of bridges around us in our everyday lives.
In this hands-on activity, students explore the electrical force that takes place between two objects. Each student builds an electroscope and uses the device to draw conclusions about objects' charge intensity. Students also determine what factors influence electric force.
We are surrounded everyday by circuits that utilize "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are made of many simpler parallel and series circuits. In this hands-on activity, students build parallel circuits, exploring how they function and their unique features.
Everyday we are surrounded by circuits that use "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are composed of many simpler parallel and series circuits. During this activity, students build a simple series circuit and discover the properties associated with series circuits.
Students use balloons to perform several simple experiments to explore static electricity and charge polarization.
In the everyday electrical devices we use calculators, remote controls and cell phones a voltage source such as a battery is required to close the circuit and operate the device. In this hands-on activity, students use batteries, wires, small light bulbs and light bulb holders to learn the difference between an open circuit and a closed circuit, and understand that electric current only occurs in a closed circuit.
Students learn about the many types of expenses associated with building a bridge. Working like engineers, they estimate the cost for materials for a bridge member of varying sizes. After making calculations, they graph their results to compare how costs change depending on the use of different materials (steel vs. concrete). They conclude by creating a proposal for a city bridge design based on their findings.
Student teams investigate the properties of electromagnets. They create their own small electromagnet and experiment with ways to change its strength to pick up more paper clips. Students learn about ways that engineers use electromagnets in everyday applications.
Students learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. Students learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges: understanding the problem, determining the potential bridge loads, calculating the highest possible load, and calculating the amount of material needed to resist the loads.
Students learn about current electricity and necessary conditions for the existence of an electric current. Students construct a simple electric circuit and a galvanic cell to help them understand voltage, current and resistance.
Students investigate motors and electromagnets as they construct their own simple electric motors using batteries, magnets, paper clips and wire.
Students explore the effects of regional geology on bridge foundation, including the variety of soil conditions found beneath foundations. They learn about shallow and deep foundations, as well as the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement.
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Provider Set:
- Christopher Valenti
- Denali Lander
- Denise W. Carlson
- Joe Friedrichsen
- Jonathan S. Goode
- Malinda Schaefer Zarske
- Natalie Mach
- Date Added:
Students gain an understanding of the difference between electrical conductors and insulators, and experience recognizing a conductor by its material properties. In a hands-on activity, students build a conductivity tester to determine whether different objects are conductors or insulators. In another activity, students use their understanding of electrical properties to choose appropriate materials to design and build their own basic circuit switch.
During a power failure, or when we go outside at night, we grab a flashlight so we can find our way. What happens inside a flashlight that makes the bulb light up? Why do we need a switch to turn on a flashlight? Have you ever noticed that for the flashlight to work you must orient the batteries a certain way as you insert them into the casing? Many people do not know that a flashlight is a simple series circuit. In this hands-on activity, students build this everyday household item and design their own operating series circuit flashlights.
Students take a hands-on look at the design of bridge piers (columns). First they brainstorm types of loads that might affect a Colorado bridge. Then they determine the maximum possible load for that scenario, and calculate the cross-sectional area of a column designed to support that load. Choosing from clay, foam or marshmallows, they create model columns and test their calculations.
Students complete a series of six short investigations involving magnets to learn more about their properties. Students also discuss engineering uses for magnets and brainstorm examples of magnets in use in their everyday lives.
Students learn about magnets and how they are formed. They investigate the properties of magnets and how engineers use magnets in technology. Specifically, students learn about magnetic memory storage, which is the reading and writing of data information using magnets, such as in computer hard drives, zip disks and flash drives.
Students learn that charge movement through a circuit depends on the resistance and arrangement of the circuit components. In a hands-on activity, students build and investigate the characteristics of series circuits. In another activity, students design and build a flashlight.
Students investigate the critical nature of foundations as they learn differences between shallow and deep foundations, including the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement. Using models representing a shallow foundation and a deep pile foundation, they test, see and feel the effects in a cardboard box test bed composed of layers of pebbles, soil and sand. They also make bearing pressure calculations and recommendations for which type of foundations to use in various engineering scenarios.
Students learn about the major factors that comprise the design and construction cost of a modern bridge. Before a bridge design is completed, engineers provide overall cost estimates for construction of the bridge. Students learn about the components that go into estimating the total cost, including expenses for site investigation, design, materials, equipment, labor and construction oversight, as well as the trade-off between a design and its cost.
Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials. Let the competition begin!
Students learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and consider the advantages and disadvantages of steel and concrete as common bridge-building materials to handle compressive and tensile forces.
In this hands-on activity, students construct a simple switch and determine what objects and what types of materials can be used to close a switch in a circuit and light a light bulb.
Students come to understand static electricity by learning about the nature of electric charge, and different methods for charging objects. In a hands-on activity, students induce an electrical charge on various objects, and experiment with electrical repulsion and attraction.
Students build their own two-cell batteries. They also determine which electrolyte solution is best suited for making batteries.
Students learn more about magnetism, and how magnetism and electricity are related in electromagnets. They learn the fundamentals about how simple electric motors and electromagnets work. Students also learn about hybrid gasoline-electric cars and their advantages over conventional gasoline-only-powered cars.
Students build their own simple conductivity tester and explore whether given solid materials and solutions of liquids are good conductors of electricity.