One of the most prominent forms of engineering, civil engineering, is the cornerstone of modern society. In this course, students learn the principles important to building strong and stable structures. The first unit focuses on foundational elements such as material strength, the strength of different joints and shapes, load, compression, and tension. Students apply this information in the following units where they build and test balsa wood bridges and towers. They experiment to see how the structures stand up to strength, mass distribution, and wave frequency testing. Along the way, they understand efficiency, load, wave forms, and more.
Students take on the role of civil engineers by designing a bridge for the state transportation department in the Designing for Efficiency activity.
Given a list of specifications for the roadbed, height, span, substructures, and construction techniques, students brainstorm and create sketches of several design options. This includes thorough labeling and providing a scale. After selecting the best design, students explain why the chosen design is the best option.