Ask: Which bridge totally disappears at times? The Golden Gate Bridge disappears in the San Francisco area heavy fog.
Students will be the most motivated to learn the math and physics and perform the activities if they can see the purpose of them. Inspire the students. An interesting lesson set of showing the most amazing bridges, model bridges being tested for huge loads and a couple of bridge catastrophes should encourage students to want to learn as much as they can about bridges. Showing the video and relating the story of the 1940 collapse of "Galloping Gertie", the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, are good enticements.
That bridge collapse was the most spectacular failure in bridge engineering history and the bridge was only four months old at the time. From the beginning, the bridge became an attraction for its galloping roadway. On the morning of the collapse the wind blew at only 42 miles per hour. The only casualty, however, was a dog who refused to leave a car on the deck as its owner crawled to safety.
The 600 foot center deck fell 195 feet into the water. The resulting spray of water was 100 feet high. What was the ratio of the spray to the drop, in lowest terms?
100/195 = 20/39
What rounded fraction can this be simplified to? 1/2 (20/40 rounded)
Research more articles and web sites about this collapse.
Bridges are fascinating and amazing because they are designed to encourage, connect and inspire people. Bridges can be works of art. Suspension bridges are magical in their grace and elegance.
Manuel Rondon is project manager for the newest Tacoma Narrows Bridge, budgeted for $849 million. It will be the longest suspension bridge in the USA in forty years, crossing that channel infamous for high winds and tidal currents. When asked about what makes a successful construction team, he said to choose talented people and entrust them with responsibility. Discuss how this relates to Donald Trump's television show, "The Apprentice". Students will work in teams at times during this unit. Effective team dynamics, support, expectations and skills should be taught and promoted throughout the lessons.
Models of bridges to be built are tested in wind tunnels today. Research and discussion on the latest methods to test bridge safety, as in earthquakes, are also motivating for students. There is a web site where you can build a bridge near San Francisco, between two faults and test it for different tremor forces.
Assure the students that they will be given step by step instructions on the activities, bridge language (terms) will be readily available and they will be fascinated and amazed by their research and study of all that goes into designing and building bridges. We will all never look at bridges the same again.