# Bridge Types

Contributor
TeachEngineering Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity , Instructor Guide/Manual , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

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## Description

In this lesson, students will learn about three major types of bridges, identify tension and compression forces, and build models to discover how and where those forces act on each of the bridge types.  The lesson concludes with a choice of engineering scenarios: having students build a model bridge to fulfill a function, or consider several scenarios and decide on the best type of bridge for each. A Youtube video shows the scenarios, but while this may be useful for teacher preparation, the video should not be shown to students, so that they can figure things out for themselves.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
• Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

#### Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

This PE is addressed in the post-activity assessment called “Engineering Scenarios” in which students choose which bridge design or designs would work best for a particular situation. Connection to the entire PE can be strengthened by teaching students a process to use that would allow them to organize their findings from the models and from the information from the Introduction. (It is recommended that teachers use the Introduction after the models, to allow students to discover about the roles of the forces for themselves.)

MS-PS2-2 Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

This activity is designed to show how forces affect the stability, or lack thereof, for various bridge types. The models allow students to connect ideas about forces to the behavior of the bridge models. The activity will fit well into an instructional sequence after students have learned what forces are, and before asking them to design their own experiments.

#### Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Students use models to describe the forces that act on different parts of bridges. It is recommended that teachers use the “Engineering Scenarios” post-activity assessment, as this one has students use their findings to make predictions about appropriate bridge designs for different situations.

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

The “Design your Own” and “Engineering Scenarios” post-activity assessments both involve students using their findings from the models in order to come up with solutions to problems. In “Design your Own”, students design a bridge. The teacher will want to specify criteria and constraints, focused on ideas from the models and from the information in the “Introduction” piece of the lesson. (Do the introduction after the models to allow students to discover ideas for themselves.) In “Engineering Scenarios”, students use their findings from the models, and information from the “Introduction”, to choose best-fit designs for given scenarios.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Students identify how combinations of compression and tension forces change the motion, or prevent the motion, of various types of bridges. It is recommended that the “Introduction” discussion of bridge types and the forces acting on them be saved until after the students build the models, so that students can discover for themselves how the forces affect each bridge type.

#### Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.