Weston Middle School

Technology/Engineering Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Grade 7 Design-Construction

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A Course in Engineering, Technology, and the Design Process

This course provides students with an introduction to structural engineering and technology. Key engineering design concepts include the engineering design process, the importance of failure in making improvements, trade-offs of cost and performance, and efficiency and elegance in design.

Students begin by building and testing to failure models of an antenna tower, beams, and columns, and learning about the forces that act on structures-tension, compression, bending, and shear.

They learn about how these principles apply to the various types of bridge designs including beam bridges, truss bridges, and suspension bridges, and the building and testing of prototype truss bridges, using both straw-and-pin test models and an engineering simulation program.

In the final unit, students learn about affordable architectural design and building structures. Students design a house using a computer-aided design program, and then build a structural model of a timberframe house, using saws, drills, and various other shop tools.


Design Squad (PBS)



Zakim Bridge, Boston,a stayed-cable bridge designed by Christian Menn

Revised January 2011 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org