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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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Buildable bridge models l.jpg

Buildable Bridge Models

Learning Engineering through Block Play and Model Construction

Brian Brenner

Julia Carroll

Brian Gravel


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“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)


Outline l.jpg
Outline 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.”

  • Block play or “hands on” learning

  • Engineering and blocks

  • Bridge models

    • Zakim bridge

    • Suspension bridge

    • Tacoma Narrows bridge


Science through block play l.jpg
Science through Block Play 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.”

  • Scientific method

  • Systems and systematic thought

    • Iteration, patterns

    • Reversibility

  • Interactions

    • Whole-part relationships


Mathematics through block play l.jpg

More/less 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.”

Size

Counting

Sets

Addition/Subtraction

Shapes

Vertical/Horizontal

Seriation

Categorizing

Measuring

Taller/Shorter

Longer/Shorter

Left/Right

Mathematics through Block Play


Engineering and blocks l.jpg
Engineering and Blocks 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.”

  • Basic Structures

    • Post and lintel

    • Arches

    • Cantilever

  • Advanced structures

    • Tunnels

    • Bridges

    • Ramps

    • Towers


Engineering and blocks7 l.jpg
Engineering and Blocks 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.”

  • Construction/Design Principles

    • Design Constraints

    • Construction staging


Older students and blocks l.jpg
Older Students and Blocks 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.”

  • Models

    • Physical resemblance

    • Functionality

    • Tools of theory

  • Complex systems

    • Uses of different materials

    • Terminology


Bridge models l.jpg
Bridge Models 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.”

  • Simplified examples of large structures

  • Simulate construction staging

  • Encourages thinking about engineering design and practice


Zakim bridge model l.jpg
Zakim Bridge Model 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.”


Zakim bridge discussion l.jpg
Zakim Bridge Discussion 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.”

  • Forces in cables, piers, decking

  • Stiffness of the deck

  • Location/style of cables

  • Advantages/disadvantages


Suspension bridge model l.jpg
Suspension Bridge Model 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.”


Suspension bridge discussion l.jpg
Suspension Bridge Discussion 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.”

  • Forces in the cables, piers, and abutments

  • Compare to cable-stayed

  • Span length

  • Cable calculations

  • Failures


Tacoma narrows model l.jpg
Tacoma Narrows Model 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.”


Tacoma narrows discussion l.jpg

Simulates collapse and redesign of Tacoma Narrows bridge 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.”

Unstiffened deck comes off with a modest wind

Stiffened deck remains intact

Tacoma Narrows Discussion


Student guides l.jpg
Student Guides 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.”

SUSPENSION

ZAKIM


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Buildable Bridge Library 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.”


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More Hands-on Learning 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.”

  • Use their bodies to show engineering principles

  • Create “human models” of structures

  • Popsicle stick/toothpick structures

  • Bridge library website

    • http://www.ceeo.tufts.edu/etc/bridge


Summary l.jpg
Summary 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.”

  • 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


Bibliography l.jpg
Bibliography 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, 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. 2005. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. July 6, 2005. http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1993/1/1/93.01.01.x.html#t

  • 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.125-143


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