Bridge Building:
A Problem-Based Introduction to Engineering
OBJECTIVE

Students will:
- Build, and test model bridges designed to carry a fixed load,
- Use an authentic engineering design process to develop their designs,
- Apply math, science, and computer technology as problem-solving tools,
- Learn how real bridges are designed and built.

PROJECT
The project is divided into four sections as follows:

PART I. BRIDGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
RESOURCES:
- PhysicsQuest: Bridges
Online research activity to investigate bridge types, bridge terminology and bridge construction factors
- Educational Video: 'Building Big: Bridges' produced by PBS
Video questions worksheet (pdf file):



PART II. PHYSICS PRINCIPLES
OBJECTIVES:
- Describe an object in equilibrium.
- State the conditions for translational equilibrium.
- Calculate the various forces acting on a bridge: tensions and compressions
- Analyze and evaluate a truss
- Define and calculate the factor of safety for a bridge

PART III. BRIDGE BUILDING
OBJECTIVE:
- To build a manila file-folder bridge designed to carry a fixed load of 49 N.

PART IV. BRIDGE DESIGN
OBJECTIVES:
- Understand the engineering design process.
- Design a model bridge  to carry a fixed load safely and at minimum cost using
  the software West Point Bridge Designer.
Building Big: Bridges