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Project Description: This project-based scientific inquiry project: Earthquake and Boise River Bridge Design is centered on researching different types of bridges, various aspects of earthquakes, and seismic safety features of bridges. In this project, students work in small groups to explore different bridge types, the destructive aspects of an earthquake, and the safety features for bridges that could resist earthquakes. Then students will design an earthquake-tolerant bridge and test their design with an earthquake simulator. To develop computational thinking and an understanding of STEM subjects, students from 4th, 5th and 6th grade will work in small groups of six, with one in-service teacher and one pre-service teacher, twice a week for eight weeks in a community center's after-school program.


Overview of Project 2: Earthquake and Boise River Bridge Design


Table 1: Illustration of Project 2


Project Title: Earthquake Resistant Bridges

Project description: In groups of 3-6, students will research earthquakes and bridges. Then from this research, students will design a bridge that is earthquake resistant. Students will sketch their plans, build, and test their bridges under simulated earthquake conditions.

Subject Content

Engineering, Science, Math, Technology

Learning

Objectives

  1. Students will explore and investigate how to build a bridge to resist an earthquake.

  2. Students will design and build a bridge and test it under simulated earthquake conditions

Final Products

An assembled bridge; Presentation on their research on earthquakes and bridges

Driving Question: How can we build a strong bridge for the Boise River to resist earthquake forces?

Sample Sub-questions

  1. What is a bridge and why do we need it?
  2. What are the different types of bridges?
  3. How is a bridge designed? (this focuses on design - design a model on a paper or simulated model?- the design process) - the forces 
  4. What is an earthquake?
  5. Why does an earthquake occur? 
  6. What are the damages of an earthquake? 
  7. What do we do to resist an earthquake?
  8. What are the considerations for building a strong bridge?
  9. How do we design and build a strong bridge to counter an earthquake for Boise river? (this focuses on the building a bridge as a final product)

Activities


  1. What is a bridge and why do we need it? What are the different types of bridges?
  2. How are bridges designed and built?
  3. How to think like a bridge engineer?
  4. What is an earthquake and what happens when an earthquake hits?
  5. How can we resist an earthquake? 
  6. What do bridges stand on? Explore Boise river and Broadway bridge.
  7. Design, build and test a known bridge.
  8. Design, build and test a bridge for Boise river
Assessment
  1. Formative (for revision purpose): Weekly evaluation of the students on their understanding of the activities completed during the week - both written and oral.(for example rubric and Guided reflection)

  2. Summative: Assessment/evaluation on students inquires at the end of the 8 week project, for example Final Project Presentation.

Tools & Resources

Project learning guide; Laptops; File folders; Graph paper; Pencils; Crayons; Journal/Learning log; Student contract (for project management); Internet connections; Resources on bridges  and on earthquake  (resources will be collected and/or created by project team).

Standards aligned

1) Science: National Science Education Standards (NSES, 1996)

2) Engineering: NEXT Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013)

3) Information and Communication Technology: Idaho Content Standards (ICS, 2007)

4) Math: Common Core State Standard (CCSS, 2010)

5) 21st Century Skills: Common Core State Standard (CCSS, 2010)



Outline of Weekly Activities: 

Project Implementation: Please refer to the weekly activities (such as Week 1 Session 1 and Resources from the left side bar) for detailed information on how to use this project either in a classroom or informal settings such as community centers' after-school programs.

Week 1 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1

What is the goal of this project?


1.What is a bridge and how does a bridge work?

-To understand the project

-To understand the bridges in society.


-Watch videos on bridges

- research about bridges


-Bridge Facts

-How bridges work

-Videos

Journal Keeping

-Project Goal

-present bridge functions

Session 2


2. What are the different types of bridges? (focuses on four types bridges)

3. When would a bridge designer want to use each type of bridge?

- To research about different types of bridges

-To understand the different parts of a bridge

- Research about different types of bridges


- some hands on building activities

-Directions for each station

-video

Journal Keeping

-Project Goal

-present types of bridges


Week 2 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


How do I design a bridge and what needs to be considered when designing a bridge?

What forces affect a bridge’s strength?

-To understand the design process

-To understand the theoretical foundation of a functional bridge

-- Research about engineering design process for bridges

-Research about bridges

-Reading activities


Keep journal

-- present design process

Session 2


What does a successful bridge model look like?

-To design a bridge


-Bridge demonstration activity

-Readings

-K’NEX


-Keep journal

--present model of a bridge


Week 3 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


When building a bridge to hold weight, what ideas ensure success and why?

How should a bridge engineer change his/her design to meet the needs of the environment?

What information does a bridge engineer use to improve the construction of a bridge?

-To design a successful bridge

-To understand how earthquake occurs

- To understand the earthquake force

_Bridge Design Challenges


K’NEX Directions

- demonstrate the design process to model a bridge

Session 2


What information does a bridge engineer use to design and construct bridges?

What shapes and materials can resist forces acting on bridge components?

-To understand how to design a bridge according to a design plan

-Sketch and draw a model bridge to design



-Sketch-

paper

-K’NEX

- Presentation on earthquake damages


Week 4 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


What is an earthquake?

Why does an earthquake occur?

-To understand the preventative perspective of dealing with potential earthquake

- To research the things that can be done for bridges  to resist earthquake  

- Research on resisting an earthquake

-Bridge videos

Presentation on strategies for resisting earthquake

Session 2


What are the damages of an earthquake?

-To learn about strong bridges

-To decide the type of bridge for the final bridge design


-Research strong bridges

-Group discussion on the type of bridge to build



-Readings and research in groups

- Presentation on strategies for resisting earthquake

-Present the condition of the bridge location



Week 5 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


What can we do to resist an earthquake?

What are the considerations for designing a bridge strong enough to resist earthquakes?

-To design a bridge

--To build a strong bridge for Boise river

--Research the location of the bridge

-Sketch or draw the final design/model of the bridge

-Building a bridge

-Bridge Videos

-Sketch and design of bridge model

Session 2


What are the considerations for building a bridge for the Boise River strong enough to resist earthquakes?

--To build a strong bridge for Boise river


-Building a bridge


-Readers and Readings

-Presentations of findings



Week 6 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


How do we design and build a strong bridge to counter an earthquake for Boise river?

What are the considerations for building a strong bridge?

Virtual field trip to Broadway bridge

-To build a strong bridge for Boise river


-Presentations of what was learned about a bridge


-Face to face discussion with bridge engineer

-readings

Presentation on foundations of bridges


Session 2


Task Challenge: Design and Construct a bridge over the Boise River to resist an earthquake


-To build a strong bridge for Boise river


-Building a bridge


-Materials needed to build a bridge

-Shake Table

Journal with answers to questions on bridge observations



Week 7 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


Task Challenge: Design and Construct a bridge over the Boise River to resist an earthquake

-To build a strong bridge for Boise river

-Test the bridge and make modifications

-Materials needed to build a bridge

-Shake Table

Building bridge (in progress)

Session 2


Task Challenge: Design and Construct a bridge over the Boise River to resist an earthquake - Completion

-To build a strong bridge for Boise river

- Test the bridge and make modifications

-Materials needed to build a bridge

-Shake Table

Building bridge (in progress)


Week 8 Activities


Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1

Task Challenge: Design and Construct a bridge over the Boise River to resist an earthquake

-To determine which bridge is the strongest

-To test the bridge - final testing  (Competition)

-Shake Table

-Laptops

-Video recorder

- Tape recorder

A group test of their bridges

Session 2

Task Challenge: Design and Construct a bridge over the Boise River to resist an earthquake - Completion

-To determine which bridge is the strongest

- Focus group interview

- Survey

-Laptops

-Video recorder

- Tape recorder

Each group debriefing


This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1640228. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Please contact Dr. Dazhi Yang at dazhiyang@boisestate.edu if you have questions. 

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