Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
In this activity, students study the various shapes engineers choose to make structures strong -- in particular, triangles, arches, and domes. They begin by experiencing firsthand the forces of tension and compression. Then they construct a variety of forms, test their strength, and discuss how tension and compression are distributed by triangles, arches, and domes. The multimedia resources used throughout the lesson show many applications of these shapes used in ancient and modern cultures. Students also discuss examples of these shapes that they have seen in their own experiences.
1. Have students work in pairs to experience compression for themselves. Tell student pairs to stand face to face and gently press their palms together at about shoulder height (as in a "high five"). Then tell them to slowly lean into each other. Ask them to describe what they feel, where they feel it, and what they think is causing the feeling.
2. Next, have students experience tension. While standing and facing each other, have student pairs grab hands and gently lean away from each other. Ask them to describe what they feel, where they feel it, and what they think is causing the feeling.
3. Show the Triangles and Arches in Architecture stills collage and discuss the following:
4. Distribute the Building Big: Straw Shapes handout, drinking straws, and paper clips. Have students work in groups if supplies are short or if you find that teamwork is productive in your class. After students have built their triangles and squares, ask them to identify the areas in each shape that experience tension and compression when a load is placed on top of the shape. Ask them to explain why the triangle is stronger than the square in terms of the distribution of tension and compression.
5. Show the Triangles: Designing a Newspaper Chair video and continue to discuss how triangles help distribute forces such as tension and compression under a load.
6. Review the Building Big: Human Arch Mini-Activity. Then break the class into groups of four or five students each to do the activity. Have students describe where they feel pushing (compression) and pulling (tension).
7. Show the Arch Bridge video. Discuss how the construction of an ancient arch relates to the forces the students experienced in their human arch. Have students explain why the shape of each rock and the keystone are so vital to the strength and stability of the arch.
8. Distribute the NOVA: Tasty Arch handout, cream wafers, plastic knives, and sandpaper. Have students work in teams to build arches per the instructions. If time permits, have them test the strength of the arches under a load of books. Ask students to explain what forces are exerted on the arch when the book is on top, and how the arch distributes those forces.
9. Review the Building Big: Human Dome Mini-Activity. Then break the class into groups of 10 students each to do the activity. Have students explain how the dome shape distributes forces to be able to support a heavy load.
10. Show the Pantheon Dome video. Discuss how ancient cultures used certain shapes to support heavy loads. Have students explain where additional mass must be placed on a dome to increase support, and where mass can be removed to lighten the load.
11. Distribute the Triangles: Testing the Strength of a Gumdrop Dome handout (in English and/or Spanish), gumdrops, and toothpicks. Have students work alone or in teams to build domes per the instructions. If time permits, have students test the strength of the domes under a load of books. Ask students to explain what forces are exerted on the dome when the book is on top, and how the triangle shapes within the dome distribute those forces. If it is too difficult to balance a load of books on a single dome, have students devise a different method to test the strength of a dome. If making the domes is not feasible, have students watch the Triangles: Testing the Strength of a Gumdrop Dome video.
Have students discuss the following, using sketches and arrows wherever possible:
Have students draw a triangle, an arch, and a dome. Tell them to use arrows to show the direction of tension and compression when a load is placed on top of each shape.