Bridge Studies - PBL, STEM, and 21st Century Skill Activities
Check Out The Video Below! Your students will love West Point Bridge!




wpb_web.JPG
West Point Bridge Simulation will engage students at school
and at home. Watch video at bottom of page!


This group of units covering the study of bridges will integrate with curricular areas of science( physics), math, and computer-aided design. Students will manipulate data in Excel and find ways to meaningfully portray the data that they have studied. Students will then work as design teams in order to present competitive construction bids as they learn about the science and physics of truss bridge construction. At the center of this activity is the West Point Bridge Simulation. Students will deal with mathematics and physics as they discover ratios and explore the concepts of compression and tension. They will develop an appreciation for engineering and how it applies to efficiency and production. The final product will be the design of three bridges that will be efficient in both design and cost. Please note that you will find various West Point Bridge Software Versions on the site. This unit is based on WPBD 4 Single-File Setup (Version 4.1.1) for various reasons. You may want to explore the other versions, but I have found this particular one to work well when facilitating an entire grade level of students.

Part 1: While the cool part comes later in Part 2 there needs to be a foundation for learning. This Part One will give some links and worksheets to understand the physics and engineering techniques in building a truss bridge

Nova Online Build A Bridge - Great site to introduce various styles of bridges. These include arch, suspension , beam, and cable stayed. They all use some form a truss technology. This site provides a place to either build a lecture or allow students to explore, learn, and test on their own.

Building a Real Model Truss Bridge - This is a 44 page PDF document published by West Point that can be used as a resource and a building activity First half is great for basics and learning the physics in a truss bridge, the last half guides students in building a truss bridge out of file folders.The first half (prerequisite for understanding) allows students to explain what a truss is, identify the major types, components, and fundamentals (force, load, reaction, equilibrium, tension, compression, and strength). It also explain how a truss bridge (individual component contributes to the ability of the entire structure to carry a load), explain the roles of the four key players in the design-construction process( Owner, Design Professional, Constructor, Project Manager) and explain how construction quality affects the performance of a structure. It then takes students through the building activity using simple tools and paper file folders. This activity is a great learning experience and could be done before or after the computer simulation. I suggest it be an extension after if time allows.

Gallery Of Truss Bridges - A collection of 30 bridges on 10 page PDF Document published by West Point.

Glossary of Key Terms - Six page PDF file published by West Point of key terms. I have provided a vocab fill in sheet that goes with this below.
t - Used for students to fill in using their own words after reading above paper, or in lecture.

Part 2 - This allows students to engage in an outstanding CAD program designed at West Point. I have included the download for WPBD 4 Single-File Setup (Version 4.1.1) . It is important to teach using this version.


WPBD Download - Go here to download your free software. Once you are on this page scroll down to WPBD 4 Single File Setup (Version 4.1.1). You will now want to take a look at the learning resources and tutorial below entitled. It really is a quick and easy download.

Design A Truss Bridge With A Computer - This 37 Page PDF file is the key to understanding the concepts of usingthe West point software and building the most efficient bridge. Read through and make lessons for your students. It is well worth the read. Note that there are also key concept words on page 2.

- I have created a set of notes to help understand simulation program. Should be used during lectures on running the simulation. It has been designed so that students are expected to add to the notes.

- I have created this simple one page handout that will be useful in starting the West Point Bridge simulation with students.


- I created this two sided document so that students could provide ongoing progess and data as they build three different bridge types including: suspension, arch, and truss bridge. Paper is designed to be filled out each day by students while running the simulation. I have monetary goals for each bridge type.

Part 3 - Extensions - A collection of other Bridge Ideas

Tacoma Narrows Bridge - One of the most famous studies in Bridge Engineering. Take a look at these resources. Tacoma Narrows Documentary Video is an outstanding video produced by students. Very awesome. I have created this a two page worksheet directing students to read the associated pages (four altogether, click the forward button to continue once on site ) on site and they are directed to answer some investigative questions. This will also require the use of an Excel spreadsheet and can be a collaborative process. Worksheets is below. Website courtesy of **Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society & Museum**


l - Take a look at this Excel file. Note the different worksheets that are part of the file. Using your imagination you can come up with different Excel skills while studying these bridges.

Building Bridges - A simple activity using straws and pennies listed at Discovery Education. Great for middle school students with supporting links.

Part 4 - Advanced Activities - These activities would apply to advanced physic, engineering and math students.

Design and Build a Real Truss Bridge -A 24 page PDF file from West Point. Excellent post activity for upper level students using advanced math and physics.

Analyze and Evaluate A Truss - A 33 page PDF file from West Point. Activity involves advanced math calculations to determine internal force in every truss

Link : Information on the West Point Bridge Competition In case you want to enter competition, here is the link that will give you the information. Get some friends together and give it a try. This competition and program is courtesy of the United States West Point Military Academy.

Click On Video To Watch Info About West Point Bridge