Engineering – Designing Bridges

This week the students participated in two Science AL!VE workshops. One workshop was titled Engineering Olympics and students used popsicle sticks, straws and masking tape to build their own bridges. The bridges were loaded up with weights until they collapsed and the students became so excited watching how much weight their bridge could hold.

I was also teaching the class about the Tacoma Narrows bridge which opened on July 1, 1940. During its construction, workers noticed the bridge deck began to move vertically during windy conditions, so they nicknamed it ‘Galloping Gertie’. On November 7, 1940 it was a windy day and this caused the bridge to sway violently and the concrete started to crack. Eventually the bridge collapsed due to aereoelastic flutter. There was no loss of human life. A single car was on the bridge and it belonged to Leonard Coatsworth. Inside of his car was his cocker spaniel ‘Tubby’. Professor Farquharson, who was involved in the design of the bridge, tried to rescue ‘Tubby’, but the dog  was so terrified that it bit the professor. In university engineering and physics classes the Tacoma Narrows bridge and its design is studied by students.

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Vancouver Maritime Museum

Last week the class went on a field trip to the Vancouver Maritime Museum and participated in the Arctic Explorers school program. Students learned about famous Arctic explorers like John Franklin, Martin Frobisher, Roald Amundsen, the Vikings and Inuit. The class had time to explore the St. Roch which was an RCMP ship that sailed through the Northwest Passage twice. During the winter, Captain Henry Larsen and the rest of the RCMP officers who formed her crew used dog sleds to turn the St. Roch into a floating RCMP outpost. At that time, the St. Roch was the only Canadian presence in the far north, carrying out various governmental duties. Thank you to all the parent drivers who also helped to supervise the students at the museum. What was your favourite part of the field trip? Did you learn something that was very interesting? Please leave a comment below.



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