Students are challenged to compete in teams of 4 to produce a design with the largest overhang. They will have the opportunity to:
And, if the contract is used, also
By the end of the activity, students should:
Students should be encouraged to explore and be creative.
They should be urged to feel the “tipping-over points” as blocks in any particular design are adjusted.
They should be asked to figure out the features that are important to the optimization of their designs.
Achieving a larger overhang than other groups should not be seen as a primary goal, but rather groups should be encouraged to strive to find their best design(s).
Course credit or other recognition might also be given for other design attributes, such as beauty, strength or ease of construction.
Blocks should be sufficiently large and heavy that students can feel the forces they generate. The wood should be reasonably homogeneous so the centroid of each block is close to its geometric center. All edges and corners should be rounded slightly (3mm radius) to increase durability. All surfaces should be flat and smooth and coated with a waterproof finish. Our blocks were square in cross-section and 4 times as long as they were wide.