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Buildable Bridge Models Learning Engineering through Block Play and Model Construction Brian Brenner Julia Carroll Brian Gravel.

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Presentation on theme: "Buildable Bridge Models Learning Engineering through Block Play and Model Construction Brian Brenner Julia Carroll Brian Gravel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Buildable Bridge Models Learning Engineering through Block Play and Model Construction Brian Brenner Julia Carroll Brian Gravel

2 “Young children are inherently active with strong impulses to investigate, to share with others what they have found out, to construct things, and to create. In other words, a child is a natural engineer.” -Genalo et al. (2000)

3 Outline Block play or “hands on” learning Engineering and blocks Bridge models Zakim bridge Suspension bridge Tacoma Narrows bridge

4 Science through Block Play Scientific method Systems and systematic thought Iteration, patterns Reversibility Interactions Whole-part relationships

5 Mathematics through Block Play More/less Size Counting Sets Addition/Subtraction Shapes Vertical/Horizontal Seriation Categorizing Measuring Taller/Shorter Longer/Shorter Left/Right

6 Engineering and Blocks Basic Structures Post and lintel Arches Cantilever Advanced structures Tunnels Bridges Ramps Towers

7 Engineering and Blocks Construction/Design Principles Design Constraints Construction staging

8 Older Students and Blocks Models Physical resemblance Functionality Tools of theory Complex systems Uses of different materials Terminology

9 Bridge Models Simplified examples of large structures Simulate construction staging Encourages thinking about engineering design and practice

10 Zakim Bridge Model

11 Zakim Bridge Discussion Forces in cables, piers, decking Stiffness of the deck Location/style of cables Advantages/disadvantages

12 Suspension Bridge Model

13 Suspension Bridge Discussion Forces in the cables, piers, and abutments Compare to cable- stayed Span length Cable calculations Failures

14 Tacoma Narrows Model

15 Tacoma Narrows Discussion Simulates collapse and redesign of Tacoma Narrows bridge Unstiffened deck comes off with a modest wind Stiffened deck remains intact

16 Student Guides ZAKIMZAKIM SUSPENSIONSUSPENSION

17 Buildable Bridge Library

18 More Hands-on Learning Use their bodies to show engineering principles Create “human models” of structures Popsicle stick/toothpick structures Bridge library website

19 Summary Blocks encourage science and math development Block play is usually a child’s first experience with engineering Block models and hands-on activities provide a tangible way for students to learn about their surroundings Block models inspire scientific and engineering thought

20 Bibliography Genalo, L.J., Bruning, M.,and Adams, B. (2000). “Creating a K-12 engineering educational outreach center.” Proc., 2000 ASEE Annual Conf., American Society for Engineering Education, Washington, D.C. Kids/Blocks/Learning. Ansel, Patricia G Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. July 6, Leeb-Lundberg, K. (1984). “The Block Builder Mathematician.” The Block Book, ed. 3., National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, D.C. Moffit, M.W. (1984). “Children Learn about Science through Block Building.” The Block Book, ed. 3., National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, D.C. Penner, D.E., Giles, N.D., Lehrer, R., Schauble, L. “Building Functional Models: Designing an Elbow.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching., v.34 n.2, pp


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