Monday, March 1, 2010

Applied Engineering

My oldest son is taking an Applied Engineering class at our co-op. Last Wednesday, they had their first project completed and ready for testing. They had to build a bridge out of popsicle sticks and the test was to see how many bricks the bridge could hold before it broke.

This is the group that my son was in. He's the one in the middle, and that's their bridge on the cement blocks.

The teacher began placing bricks upon the bridge, and, sadly, the bridge began to sag a little; but mostly, the one side wanted to give way.

The teacher said that if was going to break, it had to break "down". It didn't count if just a side broke.

So, a mom stepped in to help hold the bricks so that they would continue to build until the middle of the bridge would break, instead of the bricks simply falling off of the side.

Well, it only held eight bricks until the middle did break DOWN. My son was disappointed. He said he didn't really want the sides built the way they were, but when you work as part of a group, you have to compromise and let each person make decisions.

This was the next group and their colorful bridge. This bridge turned out to be quite strong. The teacher had only brought eleven bricks with him and this bridge held all eleven. Then, each of the team members who built the bridge took turns standing on it to see if it would hold them -- it did!

This young man is the tallest in the class and they thought he might also weigh the most, so they had him stand on it, and . . .

He brought the bridge down!

This bridge held all eleven bricks as well. It also held several people, including the teacher, who took turns standing on it. Then . . .

two of the three boys who made it decided to try to stand on it together, and . . .

they brought the bridge down!