Sixth grade students at the Prairie Wind Middle School are ending the school year trying to become future engineers. Students are applying what they have learned this year in Math, Geometry and Physics to design, plan and build scale model toothpick bridges.
Who says students cannot have fun calculating fractions, figuring angles and adding seven-digit dollar amounts.
During this project students will use the following match skills:
- Estimating spatial configurations.
- Estimating dollar amounts in the thousands.
- Adding and subtracting seven-digit numbers.
- Multiplying and dividing numbers of at least two digits.
- Measuring (using graph paper, ruler and manipulatives).
Students worked in groups of four to five students in simulated architectural firms to create strong, economical bridges and account for the construction costs.
Duties included: architect, project director, transportation chief, carpenter and an accountant. Students will learn to write checks, balance accounts, maintain a task schedule, and work with others to accomplish a common goal.
The bridges are tested for strength, literally to a breaking point. It was an exciting day for students as bridges must have been able to hold a minimum of 20 pounds to get a passing grade. Some bridges held more than 50 pounds.
The project generates a lot of enthusiasm and competitiveness when the day arrives for the bridges to hold weight.
Afterwards, the sixth grade staff present awards and celebrate the cooperation of all participants in the project.
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