At the beginning of this unit, an activity or two to build trust, cooperation and team spirit, will create motivation and effort. These are easy, low anxiety activities.
Getting to Know You is an icebreaker that consists of 16 yes or no questions in equal squares on a handout given to each student.
Ask the class first who would like to win a million dollars! This question creates enthusiasm. Tell the students to mingle and ask each other the questions, making sure to write their names on the paper. When a student answers yes to a question, he or she writes their name in the proper square. The one at the end of five timed minutes who has the most signatures wins a large check for a million dollars, printed to look like the real thing.
The questions are:
1. Can you name a bridge?
2. Have you been on a suspension bridge?
3. Have you seen a picture of the George Washington Bridge in NYC?
4. Have you seen a bridge from a train or airplane?
5. Have you been delayed by a bridge?
6. Did the ancient Romans have bridges?
7. Have you seen a bridge being built?
8. Have you walk over a bridge?
9. Do you have a relative that lives across a bridge?
10. Have you been on a bridge with over four lanes?
11. Have you seen a pedestrian bridge?
12. Have you seen a bridge in another state?
13. Have you seen a moveable bridge?
14. Have you seen an arch bridge?
15. Do you cross a bridge to go home?
1. Have you been over the Q Bridge in New Haven?
Human Arch - Icebreaker Activity
This is a 20-30 minute lesson that will introduce the three terms: force, compression and load. There will be 5 students in each group. Two students will form an arch by standing facing each other and pressing their palm together. They will then each back up as far as possible. A third student will very gently pull down on the arch until it collapses. The students who formed the arch describe their experience.
The three concepts of force (a pushing or pulling on an object), compression (a pushing force that squeezes, and load (dead load is the weight of the structure alone and live load is the weight of anything it carries).
The fourth and fifth students must find a way of strengthening the arch. After the arch is strengthened and tested again, students discuss their solutions. The answer is to add a buttress at each set of feet. Have students relay their experiences. Have students switch roles to feel the forces in each member of the arch.
Students make up their own bingo cards the first time and reuse them for subsequent games. A sheet of paper is divided into 25 equal squares. A short form would have 9 squares. 30 pictures of famous bridges and bridge parts are printed by the teacher on a handout.
The students cut these out and glue them on their sectioned paper. The order has to be different from the others. The free square is in the center. The teacher calls out from the scrambled master set of the names or terms shown by the pictures. Everyone plays until one has Bridge Bingo!
A game board will have to be made up. Teams of students can make up $100 to $400 questions (and answers) for their given category for another class, since they would have the answers. Also if a classroom is set up with centers, one center would be to make up jeopardy questions (with answers and dollar amount).
Suggested categories would be:
1. Famous Disasters 5. Connections
2. What Kind Am I? 6. The Long and Short of It
3. What's my name? 7. That Part of Me
4. Past, Present, and Future 8. The Long and Short of It