STEM Class

Mr. Guerrieri

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West Point Bridge Design is a program that will be used during our Structures Unit. It is a program designed to help students better understand what forces act upon structures. The purpose of the program is to help relate topics learned in class about materials and forces that act upon them. In this program students design and test bridges that could be made of different types of materials and span different distances. There are also different types of bridges that students could design. After construction students can test their bridge to see if it will hold up its own weight. They can also test to see how much weight the bridge can hold before collapsing. If it fails students can look to see what part failed and why. They then can make the necessary changes to their design. In regards to differentiating, for those students that are struggling with designs, there are templates that students could use to help them design a successful bridge.

In the classroom I assign a problem that has a list of constraints that must be met, including a budget of materials. In order for the students to get a grade they must meet those constraints. This gives the students a good idea of what goes into building a structure.
West Point Bridge


West Point Bridge Design is a great program to help demonstrate forces that are discussed in class. It is not only a great visual, but is a great interactive game that helps students better understand the topics that were discussed. What is even better is that you can relate these topics to real life scenarios. Two major skills that will be required to successfully use this program consists of attention to detail and able to follow directions. If students are able to have these 2 skills they will be successful in using the program

Structures and Forces

Structures and Forces is an interactive learning website. This is a great website to demonstrate the different type of forces that act upon a structure. It has great visual examples of vocabulary words learned in class as well as written definitions for each one. What is also very interesting is that one of the links is a game where students can build a 20 story skyscraper using different kinds of materials and designs. They also have a budget of 14 million.

After navigating the website I would have students create this 20 story skyscraper. Here students will test how the skyscraper holds up to wind, a live load, and fire. I would grade the students on how their skyscraper performs against these elements. This is great for students to explore different designs and different materials and how they hold up when tested. As for differentiation, I would have students that struggle partner up with stronger students in the class and have them help each other become successful.

Structre and Forces


Structures and Forces website is also another great tool to help demonstrate forces. It is a great visual and interactive website where students can better understand what is really happening to material under certain forces. The game that the website offers helps students better understand how different materials respond to different circumstances. This occurs by students discovering it on their own. Yet again two major skills that a student needs to be successful with the game is attention to detail and being able to follow directions.

Paper Tower Challenge

Students begin the Paper Tower Challenge by first learning about the design of tallest buildings in the world. Students will then work in teams to develop the tallest tower possible that can be free standing for at least 30 seconds using only the supplied materials. The activities of the challenge focus on cooperation, planning, and problem solving. Students will work together discussing and planning the design of their tower, building their tower, and then measuring their tower.

Rubber Ducky Marshmallow Bridge

The Rubber Ducky Marshmallow Bridge challenges students to apply critical thinking to be able to construct a bridge with very limited materials that also has to hold weight. The students work in teams with only 1,000 toothpicks and 100 marshmallows available to design and build a bridge that will span 2 feet and hold the most about of rubber ducks possible.

Balsa Tower Challenge

After learning about skyscrapers, tower design principles, and how materials absorb different types of forces, students compete to build their own balsa towers to meet specific design criteria. Students will work in groups using balsa wood and wood glue to build their own towers applying the techniques they learned from the previous lessons and activities. While general guidelines are provided, students have the freedom with their design and are encouraged to implement what they have learned about structural engineering. The winning team is the tower with the highest strength-to-weight ratio.