Steel, concrete, wood—real bridges are built from many different materials. How do engineers decide which materials to use? In this activity, your students will expand on the previous paper bridges lesson plan by building and testing bridges made from different materials.
2-PS1-2. Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:
Science & Engineering Practices
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Make observations (firsthand or from media) and/or measurements to collect data that can be used to make comparisons.
Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter. Different properties are suited to different purposes.
Cause and Effect. Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes.
Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science, on Society and the Natural World. Every human-made product is designed by applying some knowledge of the natural world and is built using materials derived from the natural world.
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity was inspired by Prof. Margot Vigeant of Bucknell University.
Special thanks to Cynthia Burke and Chris Bell for helpful discussions about this activity.