The Impact Vine crowdfunding donors made possible an eight-week, hands-on, STEM learning project whereby Carver middle school students built model truss bridges.
Led by a certified science teacher from Norwalk Public Schools, this Carver STEM education project explored the basic physics of bridges. Students used simple hand tools and materials and performed calculations to determine the amount of each material required for each part of the project. Students also calculated the cost of producing a structure based on the types of materials used.
A truss bridge uses a web-like design to make the bridge stronger than a single beam or girder. From science fair projects to in-class activities, building a truss bridge offers children the chance to explore engineering concepts and connect science with math. Carver students discover how a truss works and how sturdy it is in comparison to other types of designs by making mini models and testing different structures.
The students created bridges designed their models to stand the stress of heavy weight, weather and sometimes even an earthquake. Students learned to understand the strains that bridges face and how they hold up under pressure. Students learned to consider what factors an engineer has to consider when designing a bridge. Students tested their models by rocking the bridge back and forth, simulating an earthquake, and by putting a fan in front of it to create a windstorm. The students observed and recorded what happens.