Penny Bridges

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SWBAT to gather, create a scatter plot, and qualitatively describe the correlation of data.

Big Idea

Using paper bridges of varying lengths, paper cups and pennies, students will collect, analyze and describe data.

Warm Up

5 minutes

To conserve time today, I do not have a typical warm up on the smartboard.  Instead, as students enter the room, I tell them to pick up two sheets of the penny bridge paper, a sheet of graph paper, and a half sheet lab page. I encourage them to begin cutting the penny bridge paper into the four bridge lengths indicated.

Penny Bridges

40 minutes

I begin the day's lesson by reminding students of the correlation concepts we learned the previous day.  I then explain that today, we are going to do another lab called 'penny bridges' during which we will collect data about how many pennies each penny bridge length will hold.

I call students' attention to the lab sheet table and explain that at their table, they have all the materials they will need for today's lab:  a ruler, a baggie full of pennies (100 at least), a dixie cup (these are just the right size for the bridges), and two text books.  I explain that just like in science, we must control for all the variables. I say, "We do this by measuring the placement of our bridges each time with a 1/2 inch over lap on either book." (which I demonstrate). "We also are careful to be consistent in how we drop pennies into the cup during each trial." (which I also demonstrate).  I encourage them to choose roles in their group: recorder, measurer, penny dropper/counter, bridge folder. I explain how having roles will help with consistency of data collection.

I ask students to look at the lab sheet and tell me how many trials of each bridge length are we going to carry out? (5) 

I then call the students' attention to the bottom of the lab sheet that has instructions for the second half of the activity:  data display.  I remind students to think about the process we used to create our scatter plot the previous day and to use four different colors to represent each bridge length on their graph.

Finally, I encourage them to wait until they have graphed their data to answer the two questions at the bottom of the page.

I circulate through the room as students work, taking pictures, and redirecting/assisting students when needed. When the 40 minute timer sounds, I tell the students that we will debrief this activity the following day so they can take their work home to finish if needed.