Bridges and Structures

These activities from Cre8ate maths sets challenges which require pupils to be constructive, creative and think strategically about simple structures.

Working in groups of 3 or 4, students create structures from a single sheet of A4 paper, the tallest free-standing tower and the longest possible span between two end supports. They then have to decide upon the best design, giving the opportunity for them to discuss which criteria to use for awarding marks.

Students also have to test bridge structures for strength, which will require a systematic approach to investigate the best combination of arches and spans to use with three, four or five strips of card.

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these are fantastic great ways to include STEM learning into the classroom. May I ask which math equations or theories could relate to this particular activity?

Steve Lyon

The teacher notes suggest:
"In Tallest Tower the tower which is the tallest
may not be the ‘best’ tower. Deciding which
is the best tower provides excellent
opportunities to consider the data collection
aspects of data handling. For example, marks
could be awarded for height, stability and
elegance. Work with the class to decide on
the design criteria and then re-run the
Record the design criteria and allow each group
to give a score for each criterion. Record all the
marks awarded by the groups on a spreadsheet
projected on to a whiteboard or on the board.
Discuss how to aggregate the marks awarded
fairly. Should the average of all the marks be
found or should the highest and lowest mark in
each category be left out? Is the mean, or the
median score a fairer measure?"