Tacoma Narrows Bridge lesson plans - Math - Mathematics of scale
Mathematics of scale
As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Understand how mathematical ideas connect within mathematics to other subject areas and to real-life situations;
- Understand how to devise a plan to solve problems.
- Understand and apply the concept of scale.
- Understand the size relationships between the structures, ship and person listed below.
One day or class period.
Graph paper, rulers, calculators, drawing paper, and colored pencils. Provide students with data table shown below:
|Total Length or Height
|Tacoma Narrows (1950)
|Space Needle, Seattle
|Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
|Empire State Building, New York
|Statue of Liberty, New York
|Eiffel Tower, France
|Average 7th grader
1. Using the figures provided above, calculate how many times the structures, person and ship listed will fit onto the Narrows Bridge.
2. Next calculate how many 5-foot students would fit on the 60-foot width of the bridge.
3. Create a scale drawing of the structures, person and ship listed above. Be creative!
Related links on this site:
"Span Stats"—Statistical Profile of the 1940 Narrows Bridge
Before the students get started working on their drawings, bring them together in a large group and ask them to help create a grading rubric. Ask them what attributes a top-quality drawing might have, and list those attributes on an overhead projector or white board. Possibilities might include:
- Drawings are correctly scaled;
- Drawings are accurate and well-crafted;
- Presentation is clear and colorful;
- Information is presented in a creative way;
- Shows investment of time and effort;
Evaluate each attribute on an appropriate scale based on your own school's grading system, for example giving points or letter grades. Include student evaluations also, if desired.