Structural Stability or “Why things don’t fall down.”

A stability model created in SketchUp

Structural Stability

Time: 1 hour

Day: by arrangement

Duration: 12 weeks or more by family discretion

Material fee: $10

Course Description:

This course is about why structures don’t fall down. Stability is one thing that keeps structures from collapsing. Each week the students add a layer to their model with wood struts, paper, and cardboard to demonstrate a stability concept. The student designs the layout and determines what is needed for stability. Math is not involved and all that is required is the desire to design and build your own multi-level strut model.  A new concept will be introduced each week and demonstrated by using slides of structures that illustrate the concept.

Field Trips: Field trips are not required.

Resources to be used: Thin wood dowels, precut, paper, cardboard, and a hot glue gun.

Learning Goals and Objectives:

The objective of this course is to introduce engineering in a non-intimidating environment and to increase the student’s appreciation of the built world. The student should be able to point out and explain how whatever structure being observed is able to stand up.

Methods of Evaluation:  The model will demonstrate the student’s understanding and creativity.

Week by Week Syllabi (1-12) Just a suggestion, course will be paced for the student.

1. Intro to structural stability.

2. cantilevered structure.

3. triangulated compressive structure.

4. Compressive Trusses

5. Triangulated tensile structure

6. Tensile trusses

7. Shear panels

8. Moment frames

9. Geodesic structures

10. Tensegrity structures.

11,12. model completion time.


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