Students can design a truss bridge using the free award winning West Point Bridge Designer software. The site provides a basic tutorial on using the program. The software is only available for Windows. There is also a related contest that students ages 13 years to grade 12 can enter for a chance to win a $15,000 scholarship and a laptop computer.
byScience Dude, September 6, 2008
Have used this software with my grade 6 students and it worked out well. Students picked up how to use the software quite quickly. In addition to learning about structures there were also math applications as they had to stay within budget as each part of the bridge has a different cost. After they were done designing on the computer I had the students build their bridges (in groups) with popsicle sticks. Great for developing teamwork skills and the bodily-kinesthetic learners in my class.