Math and Science with Mr Taylor
POE Principles of Engineering
Toothpick Bridge Activity
First!!!  Click here and download copy of the rubrics

Save these rubrics to your POE folder
and print a hard copy as reference

Lets begin by familiarizing yourself with the project guidlines and goals...make notes as necessary in your Engineering Notebook
Choose a bridge type to use as your initial example to help you design and build your toothpick bridge.
As you brainstorm, remeber the bridge must be functional for traffic.  This model is a "Prototype" of a final project which will be used to sell the client on your bridge design concept.
Now that we have discussed the various constraints of the contest...Lets begin the real work!
Don't Forget...
Document in your Engineering Notebook work and itemize materials:
  • How many Dots used
  • How many Toothpicks used
  • Type of bridge design chosen
Now that you have finished your bridge construction phase...
Step back and take a look at your design...
Look around the room at the design of others...

Now write a prediction in your Engineering Notebook as to how you think your group's bridge design will do in the stress test.
(Loading the bridge with weights until failure occurs)

Give reasons why you believe as you do about your predictions.

Photograph Your Completed Bridge with Your Group Name on a Custom Name Placard
After recording all of the above information
in your Engineering Notebook...
Photograph Your Bridge at or Near its Ulimate Failure Point as a Record of Structural Testing

Write a reflective analysis on the following:
  • Did my group's bridge do as well as I expected?
  • Why or Why not?
  • If not, what could we have done to make the bridge stronger?
  • Could more collaboration have produced a better bridge?
  • Could comparing all group ideas result in a "best built" bridge?

After doing the westpoint bridge program on your laptop...

Click the picture to the left and follow the directions on the Blog page

Fun and Interesting:

Click the picture below...
Watch the entire movie...
Discuss your thoughts on why this happened
Now lets look at the virtual bridge building software on our computers...West Point Bridge Builder
Click on the icon on your desktop that looks like the image below:

On Your Desktop

Click on this icon that looks like the one shown on your right

PLTW Proprietary Program
Engage in class discussion regarding use of this program...
Then follow the directions regarding a truss bridge design
  • Create a truss bridge over the default span
  • After you have achieved a stable design...load test
  • Once failure has been avoided...check forces in ALL members
  • Reduce member sizes wherever possible (retest as necessary)
  • Minimize cost of bridge until failure is barely avoided
  • At this point save your design and EnGrade file to Mr. Taylor
  • Lowest Cost Functional Bridge Wins Bid and Contract!!!

Now compare your design to your peer's designs...

...Engage in whole class discussion and reflection about relative performance and design merits.

Now retry the previous activity with all aspects except using arch bridge instead of truss bridge.  When finished save and submit file on EnGrade to Mr. Taylor.

Next compare the two designs costs and discuss which style bridge was a better value for the money in a whole class activity.

As a final activity review your notes and then...
Go to your PLTW WebPortfolio, upload and post the photographs of your bridge, and insert a paragraph box with your reflection of this bridge activity.  Be sure to place the reflection below the photos on your "Toothpick Bridge Activity" page

Review your Rubrics as a self assessment activity prior to submitting final completion acknowledgement to Mr. Taylor on EnGrade.  Attach a completed copy of your self assessed rubric to the EnGrade message.