Testing to destruction

One of the Year 10 electives is Engineering and Mathematics Applications. As part of a unit on Materials, the students design and build a model bridge. All the boys use the same materials and the same amount of materials. Once they have finished, they test the strength of their bridges. The project demonstrates how design and craftsmanship can influence the strength of the bridge.

The boys really enjoy ‘testing to destruction’. They load their bridge with weights until it breaks. There is a strong competitive edge – the boys put a lot of work into their structures and want their designs to perform well. The strongest bridge this semester supported 41 kg (427 times its own mass!)

I love the ownership the boys take of this project and the passionate way they work together (they design and build their bridges in pairs). This year’s group in particular were tremendous. They organise the testing by arranging their bridge and gradually filling the testing buckets with weights. They then add up the final tally of the weight the bridge supported.

The Engineering and Mathematic Applications elective runs for a semester and the areas of study support students who might study VCE Physics.

Anthony Keane