Building Bridges in Physical Science
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Captain Beckham’s Physical Science classes participated in a Popsicle stick bridge building project. The cadets were supplied with 150 Popsicle sticks, wood glue and a hot glue gun. They were to design a bridge that had a 3D design. Basically it had to look like a bridge and not a flat surface. The goal was to see which team could build a bridge to withstand the most weight. They used a bowling ball, a 25 lb. weight, and numerous books. The last challenge was if the bridge could hold up Captain Beckham. The winning team would be treated to lunch by Captain Beckham. Cap. Beckham was blown away with some of the bridge designs. Some of these kids could become great architects. The class watched videos to understand why bridges are built the way they are, with triangles and cables for suspension. The kids put a lot of thought in their projects and learned how to disperse weight throughout architectural designs. Winners for the lunch were teammates: Bobby Semmler (B/S), Zach McInernery (D), Patrick Redmon (B) and Jace Bagwell (B).
Cadet thoughts on the project:
When building the bridge, I realized the two main factors were hold and spreading of the weight. In my bridge I put hot glue in as many places as I could to keep it together. Then I focused on the spreading of weight. If weight is focused on one area, then that area will collapse. I think the main failure of my bridge was the giant unsecure poles. The poles led to an uneven distribution of weight causing my bridge to fall. Alex Bryant (A)
The Project was fun. We learned some of the basic concepts of engineering, the distribution of weight, and that triangles are an engineer’s best friend. The triangles have a structural rigidity unlike squares. It was a good learning experience for those who want to be architects and still a good learning experience for everyone. So I think we built bridges to learn shapes and how to use those properties in practical applications. Patrick Redmon (B)
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