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Getting Started Select Design Task Learn About Design
MOVIE 1:   5 minutes 27 seconds

Single-Load Bridge

The initial work of Paper Bridge involves students getting used to and Messing About with the bridge-testing apparatus-- a horizontal piece of lumber with two tacks from which a sheet of paper holding a water bottle on a hook is hung. In MOVIE 1, science teacher Nancy starts off by differentiating between science and design experiments. She then gives her students a written pre-test, reviews the challenge, and gives instructions on what is the key measure of success for this bridge. It must sustain the load for 10 seconds, while being made with as little paper as possible. In the latter part of MOVIE 1, you might look for how the male and female teams made their design decisions differently. Notice especially whether discussions preceded design actions or not. Listen to how students explain the phenomena that drives their designing, while noting the plans they have for the next iteration of their designs.

NOTICE: Folding weakens paper -- the connections between the paper's long fibers are disrupted. Finding the place in the center of the paper to cut the hole from which the water bottle is hung, without folding the paper. Also, warn students of paper's properties when folded so that between classes they don't store their bridges by folding them into the books.

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