Introduction to Bridges (Day 1- 2)
Introduce your students to the different types of bridges by reviewing the information in "Introduction to the Different Types of bridges" presented in an earlier section of this paper. Show the students slide show presentations, pictures or a film about bridges. Have the students collect pictures of different types of bridges over a period of time. Instruct the students to make a poster and place each bridge under the heading of beam, arch or suspension bridge. If possible, show the students a film about the history and different types of bridges.
Virtual Bridge Fieldtrip (Day 3)
Have the student search several different websites and lists the different types of beam, arch and suspension bridges that they observed during the class period. Have them identify which bridge they especially liked, and why.
Town Meeting (Day 4-5)
Break the classroom down into four of five groups. Make up a scenario where they have to decide on what type of bridge they should build in a particular area. Review the requirements presented in "Factors in Bridge Building and Design" earlier in this paper with them before they do this assignment. Have each group find a picture of the bridge they intend to build (this will assist them in drawing the bridge that they will create) and explain how they came up with the decision.
Bridge Fieldtrip (Day 6)
Arrange for your class to take a fieldtrip to a bridge. The field trip will be extremely helpful and enlightening if the students can see a bridge of construction and a bridge already in place. Try to contact a bridge superintendent so that they can give the students pertinent information about the bridge and answer students' questions. Have the students write a reaction paper about their trip to the bridge. Have several of the students read their paper to the class and discuss them as a group.
Simple Bridge Experiments and Activities (Day 7-9)
Perform the experiment and activities in the "Hands-On Bridge Building Activities" section of this unit. This will help the students to better understand the principles behind bridge building and enable them to design and construct better bridges for the culminating activity where the students actually build a bridge.
Introduction to the Bridge Building Contest (Day 10-11)
Show the film "Build'em and Bust'em" to motivate the students for the actual bridge building contest. (See teacher's bibliography for a brief summary and explanation about the film). Let the students know about the bridge building activity that they are about to undertake. Explain the rubric (grading sheet and expectations) at the end of this unit so that the students will fully understand the assignment. Break the class down into small construction companies. Review the building specifications with the class before they before they begin designing their bridges. If possible show the students an example of how their sketches and a blue print of the building should look.
Meeting of the Companies (Day 12)
The students will meet in their individual groups and decide on a company name, and the type of bridge that they want to build. Instruct each member of the group to come up with a sketch or picture that they would like for the company to build. They can complete this part of the assignment for homework. During the next group meeting they will decide on which bridge that they will construct from their completed designs.
Blueprint of the Bridge (Day 13-14)
Each group will draw a picture of the bridge that they plan to build. They should include a side view, end view and a top view of the bridge. Each group will present their final plans to the class before building their bridge design. These designs should be drawn to building specifications made during the earlier class meeting. These designs will also serve as the template for the students to follow when they start to construct the bridge.
Bridge Building (Day 15-16)
Give the students five or more days to build their bridge models during class. The time allotment will vary to the type of bridge they are building.
Final Inspection (final class period)
Evaluate the model based on the rubric presented during day seven.