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ERIC Number: EJ794773
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1062-9351
Balsa Tower Walls Brave "Big Buster"
Granlund, George
Tech Directions, v67 n10 p17-19 May 2008
Like many technology teachers, the author, a technology education teacher at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, Michigan, tries to stretch his budget by "milking" each student activity for maximum benefit. In the technology department, they use balsa wood towers to teach the basics of structural engineering. To get the most from their materials, they have shifted from a four-sided balsa tower destined for failure testing to a single tower side. In this article, the author details his structural engineering activities and provides a procedure teachers can use to build a testing device that he calls "Big Buster," designed specifically for testing two-dimensional balsa structures. In using "Big Buster," students observe the effects of a load placed on a lightweight structure. Their goal in building the tower side is to produce a structure that will fail under a heavy load with the highest strength-to-weight ratio. Educators can use the activities described here on a stand-alone basis to teach the basics of structural engineering or as an introduction to a more in-depth investigation of how structures perform. (Contains 4 figures.)
Prakken Publications. 832 Phoenix Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. Tel: 734-975-2800; Fax: 734-975-2787; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A