Project Titleladybug
A webquest for 11th and 12th Grade (Mathematics)

Designed by
Maria Alcaraz
Dolores Solis
bridge cartoon

Student Page
Introduction Task
Teacher Page

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Groups of high school students collaborate with each other to respond to the questions: Why is it important to build a bridge? Is building bridges limited to the physical construction of models or could it also transcend race, gender, culture, and social barriers? How could a bridge be designed? What are the underlying factors required to create a sturdy but economical bridge? How can they withstand extreme weather conditions?

The students will collect data, conduct web research, design and build a model bridge of wooden toothpicks within specified constraints. They will collaborate regarding bridge design among themselves along with students from another school.  During the project, students will use the following math skills: 
  • Estimate spatial configuration
  • Estimate dollar amounts by the thousands
  • Add and subtract multiple-digit numbers
  • Multiply and divide numbers of at least two digits
  • Measure (using graph paper, ruler, and manipulatives)
  • Analyze statistical data and make judgments based on gathered information.
Social skills will also be enhanced.  Students will learn to write checks, balance accounts, maintain a task schedule, and collaborate with others to reach a common goal.

The culmination of the project will require the group to present their model bridge along with a multimedia presentation to an audience of their peers, teachers, and parents to explain and support the rationale of their design. After which, the audience will be witnesses to the destruction of the bridges and groups will then justify design of their model bridges after the result of the destruction.

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Each team of four students will design and build a model bridge, create a multimedia presentation using PowerPoint or Keynote, test the bridge’s strength and durability, and present their projects to an audience of their peers, teachers, and parents.

Core Understandings:

1. Designing what type of bridge to build is dependent upon location, natural conditions, cost, and material availability.
2. Discover that bridges are graphic representation of our culture, economic status, and its relationship with the environment.

3.  Understand technology - what it can and cannot do.

4. Realize that building bridges requires planning, precise computation, creative thinking, careful thought of cause and effect, and collaborative techniques.
5. Understand that there may be more than one solution to a problem and that the ability to make good judgment is dependent upon ones understanding of the underlying principles that surround the problem, the prevailing constraints, and alternative ways available to solve the problem.

Learning Objectives:

1. Students will enhance their technology experience by creating multimedia presentation of project and design.
2. Students will recognize real world application of mathematical concepts and principles.
3. Students will learn to conduct multiple research and data collection.
4. Students will develop spatial visualization, intuition, and learn to make good judgment.
5. Student will collaborate effectively in small groups and exhibit communication skills/techniques.

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Process sun icon

Web Quests/

Real World


Bridge Exhibit
& Testing



The teacher will create heterogeneous groupings based on student’s skills,gender, ethnicity, and attitude. Each team consists of a project director, an architect, a carpenter/transportation chief, and an accountant. (Specific job duties and schedule). Each collaborative teams will determine and decide how they will divide the task and roles that each member will play. Rules and guidelines for group work are clear and understood by all students. Each group will work together and depend upon each other’s strength throughout the creation of the final project.

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Web Quest/ Resources

Students will explore different web pages and websites to find information about various types of bridges and answer the following questions in conjunction with their research on the different types of bridges:

       -how each type is built according to principles of engineering
       -what are the forces that act upon each type and how that is considered by engineers
       -what are the strengths and weaknesses of each type
       -conduct interactive experimenting with bridge building

The Basic Bridge Types's%20bridges.htm

How to build a bridge
Geometry of Bridge Construction
How Bridges Work

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Real world connection

Bridge design & construction activity

Students will design a bridge of their choice using a software. They will create an actual model bridge using wooden toothpicks based on their actual design (see Bridge Building Code)

The project is designed to help students apply math principles and reasoning to their design of real world object. The students will also build bridges of communication and connection with students, teachers, parents, and other students from another site.

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Technology Integration

Students will create a multimedia presentation incorporating their bridge design and the rationale behind the design.  They will use a design software to create their bridge, write a reflective journal using based on the prompts given during activity dates, and express results of data from research generated using Excel or Apple Works.

Tutorial activities will be set up for all students.

How to download pictures
Microsoft Office Tutorials
Appleworks Tutorials
Nuts and Bolts Primer.pdf


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Bridge exhibit and testing

This will be the day for holding the multimedia presentation, awards ceremony, and the bridge breaking.  Parents, teachers, and principal will be invited, perhaps, a local architect, too.

The awards ceremony will be presented to companies for the best multimedia presentation, bridge plans, and bridge strength.  Individual certificates for merits above and beyond the actual performance of group members will be presented, too.  Students will be given the opportunity to nominate members who performed exceptionally  throughout the duration of the project.

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Divide task and roles among group members.

Create project rubric with teachers and students.

Study and research subject in depth using resource websites.


Collect data about types of bridges and make a statistical analysis.

Tutorials for PowerPoint or Keynote and Bridge Design Software.

Choose the type of bridge and create a design using the software.


Create a model bridge using wooden toothpicks and based on the design.

Plan and layout of multimedia presentation.


Create multimedia presentation.


Project Due Date: January 10,2005

Bridge Exhibit and Testing: January 15, 2005


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KWL Chart: Find out what students know (K) and what they want to know (W).  We will fill out what students have learned (L) when the project is completed.

Formative assessment

A checklist will be used for on-going peer review and self-assessment.
Informal teacher observation (walkarounds)
Reflective journal (link to

Summative assessment
Rubrics will be used for the following evaluation:  collaborative work skills, building a structure, math problem-solving, multimedia project, and oral presentation.

Click the button on the left to view the rubric for Collaborative Work Skills
Click the button on the left to view the rubric for Building a Structure
Click the button on the left to view the rubric for Math-Problem Solving
curtain call
Click the button on the left to view the rubric for Multimedia Presentation
talking face
Click the button on the left to view the rubric for Oral portion of the Multimedia Presentation.   

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Congratulations! In the process of completing these Webquest, you’ve learned about the different types of bridges and the physical laws that govern bridge design. You have developed collaborative working skills, critical thinking and problem solving techniques as you planned, designed and built a bridge made of wooden toothpicks. You presented your model bridge to an audience of your peers, parents, and teachers to explain and support the rationale of your design. Finally, you justified the design of your model bridges after the result of the destruction.