Week 6

Session 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


  • What can we do to resist an earthquake?

  • What are the considerations for designing a bridge strong enough to resist earthquakes?


  • List and describe the bridge design process like a real bridge engineer does.

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Students will gather information on Boise river through field trip


  • Students will keep a journal and make a presentation to the class

Interactive Session with Bridge Engineers

Virtual Field Trip (60 minutes)

A bridge engineer will come and have a face-to-face session with the students. Students will watch the videos of the Capital Bridge, Friendship Bridge, and the Broadway Bridge near the Boise State Universality's campus and interact with a bridge engineer.

1. Virtual Field Trip to Capital Bridge

2. Virtual Field Trip to Friendship Bridge

3. Virtual Field Trip to Broadway Bridge

Please print out this handout for students to guide their in asking the questions for a bridge engineer.

Watch this video presentation of the Broadway bridge.

As part of this activity students should identify:

  • The structural concepts used in the bridge design and how they were applied

  • The types of forces acting on the bridge and how the design accommodated them

  • The materials used in the construction and why they were used in preference to other available materials

  • The properties that made these materials suitable for use in the bridge design

  • Why it was built on its present site

  • Why the particular type of bridge design was chosen for this site

  • The challenges facing the engineers when creating the design for the bridge and how they were solved

  • The alternative designs that were considered and why were they rejected

  • How the bridge was constructed, the problems encountered and how the engineers solved them. How the construction engineers prevented it from collapsing before it was completed

  • The need for the bridge and whom it serves

How the building of the bridge impacted the local environment, for example:

Were the local communities impacted by increased or reduced traffic/quality of life issues; what effects did its construction have on businesses in the area?

What was the impact of the construction of the bridge and new access roads on local habitats and wildlife? Did air and noise pollution from vehicles increase?

If, in their opinion, the bridge is a successful structure, they should be prepared to justify their answer.

Student Led Presentation

15 minutes

The students discuss the design process of a bridge and the different things needed to consider when designing a bridge based on the knowledge acquired in today's and previous sessions. This session could be best facilitated by the bridge engineer(s).

End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

  • What did I learn today?

  • What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?