Improving Bridge Design, Grade 8: STEM Road Map for Middle School

edited by: Carla C. Johnson, Janet B. Walton, and Erin Peters-Burton

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What if you could challenge your eighth graders to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure by designing bridges that last longer? With this volume in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series, you can! Improving Bridge Design outlines a journey that will steer your students toward authentic problem solving while grounding them in integrated STEM disciplines. As are the other volumes in the series, this book is designed to meet the growing need to infuse real-world learning into K–12 classrooms.

The book is an interdisciplinary module that uses project- and problem-based learning. Students will draw on mathematics, science, English language arts, and social studies to do the following:
• Explore the current state of infrastructure in the United States and in their community, with a special focus on bridges.
• Construct scale models of bridges using scale factor, and explore types and parts of bridges using linear equations and models.
• Research and compare minerals and rocks involved in bridge building.
• Investigate the costs of building and maintaining bridges and of designs that could be more sustainable over time.
• Develop a decision model to help their local department of transportation select future bridge designs.
• Debate whether the U.S. government should establish another Works Progress Administration to improve the country’s infrastructure.

The STEM Road Map Curriculum Series is anchored in the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the Framework for 21st Century Learning. In-depth and flexible, Improving Bridge Design can be used as a whole unit or in part to meet the needs of districts, schools, and teachers who are charting a course toward an integrated STEM approach.

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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