Tacoma Narrows Bridge Lesson Plans
Math
Mathematics of Scale
Lesson Objectives
As a result of this lesson, students will be able
to:
 Understand how mathematical ideas connect within mathematics
to other subject areas and to reallife situations;
 Understand how to devise a plan to solve problems.
 Understand and apply the concept of scale.
 Understand the size relationships between the structures, ship
and person listed below.
Time: One day or class period.
Materials Needed:
 Graph paper, rulers, calculators, drawing paper, and colored
pencils. Provide students with data table shown below:
Name 
Total Length
or Height 
How many would fit on the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge? (5,979 feet) 
Tacoma Narrows (1950) 
5,979 feet 
1 
Space Needle, Seattle 
605 feet 

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco 
6,450 feet 

Empire State Building, New York 
1,453 feet 

Statue of Liberty, New York 
305 feet 

Eiffel Tower, France 
1,063 feet 

Titanic 
885 feet 

Average 7th grader 
5 feet 

Lesson Steps
1. Using the figures provided above, calculate
how many times the structures, person and ship listed will fit onto
the Narrows Bridge.
2. Next calculate how many 5foot students
would fit on the 60foot width of the bridge.
3. Create a scale drawing of the structures,
person and ship listed above. Be creative!
Related links on this site:
Evaluation
Before the students get started working on their drawings, bring
them together in a large group and ask them to help create a grading
rubric. Ask them what attributes a topquality drawing might have,
and list those attributes on an overhead projector or white board.
Possibilities might include:
 Drawings are correctly scaled;
 Drawings are accurate and wellcrafted;
 Presentation is clear and colorful;
 Information is presented in a creative way;
 Shows investment of time and effort;
Evaluate each attribute on an appropriate scale based on your own
school’s grading system, for example giving points or letter grades.
Include student evaluations also, if desired.
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