Sixth graders participate in structural engineering workshop at MIT

Tenacre’s sixth grade class spent the day at MIT last Friday, participating in a structural engineering workshop, which connected directly with their work in science, math, and art at Tenacre. In science, sixth graders have been working on the engineering design process to prepare for their Big Bridge Fail (BBF) project. At the MIT workshop, they learned about structural issues with the John Hancock building and brainstormed ideas about how the problems were addressed and solved by engineers. After that, they built a truss bridge out of newspaper and popsicle sticks and load tested the bridge. This was a great introduction to the BBF, which starts this week.

The Tenacre students also learned about suspension bridges, working in collaborative groups to design and construct the bridge cables using a 3D printer design program. Students load-tested their suspension bridges, analyzed the results, and then collaborated in larger groups to improve the cables.

Art was incorporated after lunch, when the group viewed the Arthur Ganson Kinetic Sculpture exhibit, where students were encouraged to look at the various sculptures, choose one, and then sketch it and write about how it made them feel.

Tenacre nurtures and challenges each child, every day.