Analyzing Bridges



  • Part 1:  Bridge Types, Strengths, Weaknesses, Sketch

    Go to the following web site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bridgeClick on Build a Bridge first and then under DO YOUR HOMEWORK, select Jump to this Section.

    The web page will show the four bridge types and describe each.  Be sure you can identify the four bridge types - they are in green capital letters.

    In a word document list each of the four bridge types and at least two strengths and weaknesses of each of the four bridge types. Leave a space in the document for you to draw in a sketch for each type of bridge as well. You will sketch your bridges after printing the document (but don't print yet). 

    So part one should look something like this for each bridge type:

    Bridge Type

    Two Strengths

    Two Weaknesses

    Space for Sketch


    Part 2:  Scenarios

    Go to the same website as in Part 1 and click Build a Bridge.  Scroll down until you see PLAY THE GAME.  Click on Jump to this section.  The game describes four scenarios in which a bridge needs to be built.  They are also described below.  Go through and figure out which bridge type should go with each scenario.  You can also learn about more strengths and weaknesses for Part 1 as you play the game.  

    In the word document copy and paste the following: 

    Which bridge would best fit in each location? 

    1. A 4,200-foot span across an ocean bay where huge ships come and go
    2. A 300-foot span across a narrow waterway.
    3. A 3,000-foot main span across a busy shipping channel in a major city. 
    4. A 1,200-foot span across a deep river gorge.

    Tell me which brigdge type works for each scenario in the same word document you did in Part 1. You will find the answers as you play the game.  


    Part 3:  Forces

    Another great reference for bridges can be found at this web site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/bridge/index.html 

    Go to the website and click on the "Forces Lab."    Click on each of the actions on the side so you can see the "forces" that can harm a bridge.  In the word document list the "forces" that can harm a bridge.  (They are not the words on the side.  They are the FORCE that corresponds with the action.)


    You can now print and complete the word document so you can draw your sketches from part 1. Be sure your name and class period are at the top of your document.