Bending Steel

This Bending Steel activity & project also includes:

How high do railroad tracks rise due to heat? High schoolers use mathematical modeling to geometrically determine the answer to this question. Learners then evaluate the rationality of the first model when creating an additional one.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Consider teaming up with a science teacher to use this activity as a cross-curricular lesson
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires familiarity with basic right triangle trigonometry, units, graphing techniques, systems of equations, and circles to complete the activity
  • Worksheet assumes that pupils will not immediately use an arc to model the expansion
Pros

  • The teacher's guide includes further relevant information on thermal expansion
  • The subject matter in the resource connects with geometry concepts
Cons

  • Not very realistic in terms of how railroads are actually constructed to account for the bending of steel