Non-CoreTech Ed

Technology Education

Units/Topics Covered



In the Electronics Module, teams of students will learn the basics of electronic circuit design and simple programming using arduino kits. Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. All this is defined by a set of instructions programmed through the Arduino Software (IDE).


Engineering/ 3D Printing

In the Engineering Bridges Module, students solve an engineering problem. Their task is to build a balsa wood bridge that spans a space and holds the most weight before breaking. There are certain rules that the students must follow to build their bridges correctly. Students learn the relationships among design, structure, and strength of a bridge. By building a bridge and testing its strength on a structure tester, students learn valuable engineering concepts and principles. New this year will be a short module in 3D printing. Mr. Rosenberg is letting us borrow his 3D printer and the students will explore the world of 3D design with a free piece of software called 123D Design.


In the drafting module students will gain a basic understanding of measurement, sketching and how to properly draw multi-view drawings using a drafting board, t square, triangles, eraser, drawing pencils and paper. One of your first assignments will be to solve some type of architectural design problem using a specific scale.

 3D Printing Resources

Click here for 123D Design Tutorials

Bridge Resources

Click Here to fill out information about your Bridge. (Class 1)

Click Here to fill out information about your Bridge. (Class 2)



Factors to think about before designing your tower.


Construction Tips


Engineering Principles


Bridge Design Competition


Efficiency = Failure Weight / Tower Weight




1. Learn basic engineering principles
2. Identify basic shapes that form structures
3. Design a tower for structural strength, that will hold weight
4. Use the student made design to construct a tower using given materials
5. Calculate efficiency rating to determine best designed tower

Students will design and build a balsa wood tower. The tower will be tested to see how much weight the tower will hold. The student then figures out the efficiency rating for their tower.

The objective of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of:


  • The technological development of bridges through history, and their contribution to society.

  • The scientific and mathematical principles that apply to the physical science of bridge building.

  • The different construction techniques and creative skills that are necessary for winning design.

  • The design techniques and standards that are necessary to create a plan that can be used to guide your construction.

  • The procedures and techniques necessary to safely construct a bridge.


Tension: the action of being stretched to stiffness

Compression: the action of being pressed or squeezed

Weight: a load with a certain heaviness, a specific force due to gravity

Support: to hold up or serve as a foundation

Tensile Strength: the greatest stress a substance can bear without tearing apart


Butt Joint: A technique in which two members are joined by simply butting them together. The butt joint is the simplest joint to make since it merely involves cutting the members to the appropriate length and butting them together. It is also the weakest because unless some form of reinforcement is used it relies upon glue alone to hold it together. Because the orientation of the members usually present only end grain to long grain gluing surface, the resulting joint is inherently weak.

Lap Joint: In woodworking, a lap joint describes a technique for joining two pieces of material by overlapping them. Usually, no material is removed from either of the members to be joined, resulting in a joint which is the combined thickness of the two members.

Miter Joint: A joint that is exactly 45degrees.

Notch Joint: When a piece of wood is "notched out" to accommodate  another piece of wood to be physically joined to it.


triangles - rigidity of the triangular shape can support weight securely

squares - can support weight, but can twist and collapse if not supported

polygons - like squares, can support some weight, but will twist and collapse if not supported.



The best advice for building winning structures starts with commitment. Your dedication and attention to detail is the winning combination. The following list of tips will help you succeed but only if you are dedicated to the project. Be sure you understand the event rules before designing your prototype.

1) Draw your preliminary design with full wood outlines. This should help you to decide whether to use butt joints or lap joints.

2) ALL joints should have absolutely flush surfaces before applying glue. Anytime glue is used as a "gap filler", it dooms the structure! Cut the wood precisely and carefully sand the part so that it fits flush. Then, number the part and use it as a template to make numbered duplicates in assembly sequence (i.e.: two for bridges, four for towers).

3) Structures are symmetric. When building a bridge or a tower with two or four sides, build the two primary sides one on top of the other. Once the first side is built, cover it with wax paper and build the second side directly on top of the first. This helps insure the structure's symmetric integrity.

4) Most competitions require these structures to be weighed. Up to 20% of the structure's mass may be from over gluing. Adhesives do not work better when they are drooled all over the structure. Use the adhesives sparingly where any more than a translucent, moist surface becomes wasted, excess mass.


Contest Rules

The object of the competition is to design and construct the bridge with the greatest Engineering Efficiency:

Efficiency= Load (grams)(Total weight held before failure) / Mass (grams) (Weight of the bridge)

** The last weight the bridge holds for 30 seconds will be considered the Maximum Load

Other considerations for your final grade: Appearance, Neatness and meeting the minimum and maximum specifications for the Length, Width & Height.

The bridge must be constructed ONLY from basswood and glue. (15 pieces of wood and ⅝ oz. of wood cement per student). NO OTHER MATERIALS may be used!

The Bridge MUST be designed and built within these Specifications:



Optional Underhang


9 ¾” to 11 ¾” in

9” to 11 ¾”

8”or less


2” to 3”

2” to 3”

2” to 3”


4” or less (Includes underhang)

2” or less

1” or less

** The bridge must span a distance of exactly 8”

1. Deductions of 20pts off your final grade will happen for failure to do each of the following:

    a. Failure to submit a drawing.
    b. Illegal lamination.
    c. Excessive use of glue (smears or spots that are larger than 3/8" in width/ diameter or structural elements that are coated with glue).
    d. the tower is 1⁄4" less than or 1⁄4" greater than the specified height.

2. Structures will not be tested if:
a. Any materials other than those specified are used.
b. Test block will not rest on top.
d. Tower is 1" less than or 1" greater than the specified height.
e. More than two (2) rule violations are present




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