Whitfield’s mathematics curriculum builds confidence as well as competence in our students. Beginning in middle school, students learn to utilize a variety of problem-solving strategies that use math to model, predict, and make decisions about the world.
In Middle School Geometry, students discover and work through many theorems. Recently, students constructed popsicle stick truss bridges as part of their study of triangles, trapezoids, and polygons. Working in small groups, students first researched different types of truss bridge designs before creating a plan for their projects.
The bridges were made up of primarily congruent triangles but according to faculty member Dr. Brandon Haynes, several creative students incorporated polygons and other shapes into their designs.
“In building their Popsicle stick bridges, students experimented with combining the different shapes we’ve learned about this year—namely triangles and trapezoids, which are integral to the design of the majority of bridges,” said Haynes. “This project tapped into their creative problem-solving skills and provided students with real-world examples of the importance shapes actually play in their everyday lives.”
Additionally, this project helped our students cultivate another life skill: working in teams. “One of the challenges of this project was that everyone had a different idea about what they wanted our bridge to look like,” said Juni Asikainen ’23. “We had to collaborate and work as a group to get it done.”