Truss Bridges – An Urban Planning Online Installation

For the Urban Planning Course, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we build a bridge with minimum resources to support maximum load? 

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Chicago’s infrastructure is falling apart. Afraid of the backlash that would occur if someone were to get injured, the mayor is seeking designs for a new bridge – but Chicago is in such bad financial shape, he is looking for a simple (cheap) design that will support the most weight using the fewest resources. Your challenge is to create a design that will maximize load and minimize resources.

The rules of the competition are as follows:

  • Your model can only be made out of two materials: popsicle sticks and glue.
  • Your team will be provided with 50 popsicle sticks, white glue, and one stick of hot glue.
  • Your bridge must span a distance of at least one foot.
  • Your bridge must support a weight of at least 5 pounds.

VM 1: Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments,and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|,
||v||, v).

G-CO 9. Prove theorems about lines and angles. Theorems include: vertical angles are congruent; when a transversal crosses parallel lines, alternate interior angles are congruent and corresponding angles are congruent;points on a perpendicular bisector of a line segment are exactly those equidistant from the segment’s endpoints.

G-CO 10. Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: measures of interior angles of a triangle sum to 180°; base angles of isosceles triangles are congruent; the segment joining midpoints of two sides of a triangle is parallel to the third side and half the length; the medians of a triangle meet at a point.

G-SRT 8. Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

G-MG1. Use geometric shapes, their measures, and their properties to describe objects (e.g., modeling a tree trunk or a human torso as a cylinder).

G-MG 3. Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).