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, system analysis, and efficiency and elegance in design.

Students begin by building and testing to failure modes of basic structural elements such as  beams, columns, cantilevers, arches and foundations. In doing so, they learn about the forces that act on structures-tension, compression, bending, and shear.

They learn about how these structural elements are combined into smaller assemblies such as trusses and domes, and into larger structural systems such as bridges and buildings.  They study the various types of designs, 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 November 2014 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org