Tacoma Narrows Bridge Lesson Plans
Mathematics of Scale
As a result of this lesson, students will be able
- Understand how mathematical ideas connect within mathematics
to other subject areas and to real-life 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.
- Graph paper, rulers, calculators, drawing paper, and colored
pencils. Provide students with data table shown below:
|| Total Length
| How many would fit on the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge? (5,979 feet)
|Tacoma Narrows (1950)
| Space Needle, Seattle
| Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
| Empire State Building, New York
| Statue of Liberty, New York
| Eiffel Tower, France
|Average 7th grader
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 5-foot students
would fit on the 60-foot width of the bridge.
3. Create a scale drawing of the structures,
person and ship listed above. Be creative!
Related links on this site:
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 top-quality 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 well-crafted;
- 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.