Breaking Bridges: Geometry Students Build Bridge Projects

Article written by Tyler Gelvin '21

The main focus of our Geometry Bridge Project was to build a bridge out of coffee stirrers, within the dimensions given, and be able to withstand 30 pounds of weight. There were four main jobs: the Architect, the Carpenter, the Project Manager, and the Accountant. I was the Architect for my group and had to design the bridge. I used the dimensions given to design a bridge that would allow a car to pass over the bridge and a boat to pass under the bridge while holding 30 pounds of weight. We built a “k” truss so that the stress on the beams could be exerted on many areas of the bridge instead of only a few. My group had a great experience with designing the bridge and assembling it. The Accountant in our group kept a balance sheet to ensure we didn't go over budget. We stayed on budget by following the balance sheet and buying the sticks in small portions.

We had a total of 12 days to draw the plans, buy our land and material, and build the bridge. On the 13th day, we tested the bridges and my group's bridge held 28 out of the 30 pounds. We had points deducted for having our sticks in the wrong area, the boat not being able to pass under the bridge, and for only holding 28 pounds. When all the points were totaled, we got 118 out of the 125 points max, so we finished with a great grade. After everyone tested (and broke) their bridges, Mr. Lewis told us what we needed to do to hold all 30 pounds or more. Since the weights pressed down on the center of the bridge, we had to build a bridge where the forces are exerted outwards towards the bases and not inwards towards the center. In the end, my group learned the fundamentals of building bridges and how to do everything within a budget. It was a great experience for me and fun since I want to be an Architect or Civil Engineer in the future.

 - Tyler Gelvin '21

Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project
Geometry Bridge Project

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