Physics’ Bridges Complete Year


Mallory La Piana, Staff Writer

Betty Watson’s AP Physics classes are engineering bridges out of wooden sticks and glue to test their knowledge of physics.  They will be working on this as their final project for the remainder of the school year.

The finished bridges will be tested with weights.  The best designs are expected to resist collapsing against the weight.

Junior Alyssa Wright explained, “What we are doing is building bridges, then we are going to put them on a table and have them 30 cm apart of two tables and the bridge is going to hang over it. Then we are going to put a hook on the bridge and it has to hold up to 5 grams.”

Watson said that during the final period, “We set up the bridges and then we load them with weights to see how much weight they can hold, so they end up breaking their bridges.”

The purpose of the project is to make practical use of the knowledge they’ve learned in preparation for the AP exam last month.

Students elected to complete this project for their final exam grade.

According to Watson, the class has been using this as a culminating activity for several years. “We’ve actually done the bridges for quite awhile. The students get to vote, but [as] it usually happens [after] the AP test they’re ready to do something fun and build bridges,” Watson said.

Groups of 2 to 5 have to outline how they want their bridge to look before constructing it.

The supplies are funded through Watson’s class budget. According to Watson, the materials are fairly inexpensive.