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ERIC Number: EJ789945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1062-9351
A Bridge to the Future
Anderson, Richard
Tech Directions, v67 n9 p13-15 Apr 2008
Career and technical education (CTE) has a promising future at Darlington (WI) High School. In this article, the author describes how a class bridge project became a real-world, project-based learning opportunity involving higher-level thinking skills that are at the core of CTE at his school. It began when a local citizen approached him at the beginning of the school year wanting to know if he had any students interested in building a covered bridge. The project involved constructing a 10' wide x 44' long timber-framed bridge strong enough to support a fully loaded truck crossing over a dry ravine. Interested in taking on the project, the author's building trades students wrote down the customer's needs. The list was long and detailed, containing over 35 specifics, from function to appearance. The students performed research and compared prices online to find tools such as a Beam saw and specialized timber frame bolts, experiencing additional real-world learning by spending the customer's money in a responsible way while saving some where they could. By constructing 1/4-scale model fixtures with careful attention to detail, the real-world problems of cutting, handling, and assembling the full-size timbers were greatly reduced. The students could analyze each problem, discuss solutions, make judgments, and evaluate their decisions. They designed and set up an ordering and accounting system, while deciding on procedures for planning orders, placing, and receiving them. They kept a running total of expenditures, with the dollar amount of every purchase recorded. Just as in real-world work, they had a commitment and they had to keep it. At the end of 75 class periods and about 100 hours of outside work, the students had the walls up and the trusses set in place. The resulting structure was so impressive, it ended up drawing attention to Darlington's CTE program locally--and from the other side of the world!
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A