Building A Bridge

Student Resources
Bridge
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Teacher Resources

open

  • Invitation to inquiry
  • Open minds
  • Stimulate curiosity

bridge

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Immerse

  • Build background knowledge
  • Connect to content
  • Discover interesting ideas
Icons from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.
Research Scenario

Suppose you are riding in a car and up ahead you see a bridge that looks like the video below. What would be some of your thoughts about the construction?

 

Engineers must make important decisions about bridges so that people and their cars, buses, and trucks can safely pass over them for many years. You will be part of a team that will research, design, and create a model bridge that can hold as much weight as possible.

How does building a model help you understand the type of bridge that will hold the most weight?

Throughout the research process, you will use a variety of inquiry tools and strategies.

First, use the resources below to build background knowledge, connect to the content, and discover interesting ideas.

Background Knowledge

Explore

  • Explore interesting ideas
  • Look around
  • Dip in
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.

bridge

Image source: www.clipart.com by subscription

Task and Product


Engineers use the Design Process to build things in the community. The Design Process includes the following steps:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Create
  • Test
  • Review
  • Modify

Your teacher will assign you to an engineering group. Each person in the group will research a type of bridge (Beam, Arch, and Suspension). Use the "Research the Types of Bridges" to draw a picture with labels and to write down three techniques or requirements used to build your type of bridge.

Explore

Use exploratory search strategies like browsing, scanning, and skimming a variety of resources. "Dip in" to read and reflect as you explore the resources.

  • Use the Stop and Jot strategy to record ideas and questions in your Inquiry Journal.
  • Use the Pair-Share Protocol to clarify your ideas, get feedback, and gain insight.
  • Use the Inquiry Log to keep track of sources that might be useful for your inquiry.

evaluate

  • Evaluate the achievement of learning goals
  • Reflect on content
  • Reflect on process
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.


 

Assessments

The following scoring tools may be used or adapted by you and your teacher to evaluate your research process and your final product and presentation. You can use these assessments throughout your inquiry process to plan, make decisions, monitor your progress, and self-assess your achievement of your inquiry-based learning goals.

Research Process Assessments:
Collaboration & Communication Assessments:
Final Product and Presentation Assessments

Combined Process/Product Assessment:

Identify

  • Pause and ponder
  • Decide direction
  • Identify inquiry question
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.

Questions

Overarching Question:

How does using the Design Process and building a model help you understand the type of bridge that will hold the most weight?

Essential Inquiry Question:

  • What are the most common types of bridges?
  • What forces affect bridges?
  • Why is an engineer important to the community?
  • What geometric shape(s) do engineers use to create the strongest bridges?
  • What kind of bridge is the strongest? Why?
  • Where can I go for more information about bridges?

Refer to your Inquiry Journal for ideas and inspiration, and use these inquiry tools to help you identify an Essential Inquiry Question as you begin your inquiry:

gather

  • Gather important information
  • Go broad (search)
  • Go deep (read)
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.

 


Gather & Sort

An engineer does research before building a bridge. You will be responsible for gathering information about bridges by using a variety of sources. Record the information you find about types of bridges and the forces that affect them using the graphic organizer.

Apply effective search strategies in order to locate and evaluate sources and digital content relevant to your information need.

  • Read deeply from pertinent resources and apply reading strategies to construct meaning.
  • Use the Inquiry Log to make choices and track your inquiry journey.
  • Use strategies and tools for note-taking, documentation, and reflection as you gather:
  • Refine your inquiry question or focus as needed, based on your research findings so far and your new insights and understandings.
  • Demonstrate digital citizenship and avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing or quoting information, and by citing your sources in a Works Cited list.

Create

  • Reflect on learning
  • Go beyond facts to make meaning
  • Create to communicate
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.


Image source: Amie Schwartz

Create

design process

You will follow the Design Process in order to build the bridge that will compete in the contest. After your team completes each of the organizers, you will think, pair, share (brainstorm) with your group to identify which bridge to build. Design a blueprint or drawing of the bridge you plan to build by using the "Design Your Team Bridge" planning guide.

Next, build the bridge using the Building the Bridge worksheet you and your teammates created.

Test the bridge by placing one penny at a time on your bridge until you have used 50 of them. As you watch how your bridge reacts to the weight, think about how the forces are effecting your bridge. With your group, review the results of the test and discuss what you should do to the bridge to make it stronger. Modify (change) your bridge and retest.

 

share

  • Learn from each other
  • Share your learning
  • Tell your story
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.

Share

Present your research findings to your inquiry community by participating in a contest to see which bridge can hold the most weight. Test the bridge with your class by placing one penny at a time on your bridge until you have used 50 of them. Use "Data Collection" to collect the data as the other teams present their bridges.

bridge

 

evaluate

  • Evaluate the achievement of learning goals
  • Reflect on content
  • Reflect on process
Icon from Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K.,  & Caspari, A.K. (2012).  Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA:  Libraries Unlimited.

 

Image source: www.clipart.com by subscription

Evaluate:

Evaluate the achievement of your inquiry-based learning goals using the scoring tools in the Assessments section, as directed by your teacher:
  • Reflect on your learning of the content by writing a response to the Overarching Question; support your response with ideas and evidence from both your own research and your classmates' presentations.
  • Reflect on your inquiry process using Self Reflection on Inquiry.


Extend your learning:

Use what you have learned about building bridges to create a bridge that will be safe if an Earthquake occurs.

Learn about a career as a structural engineer.

bridge

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