Students Learn Valuable Lesson at Presentation

Eleventh and 12th grade physics classes at Byram Hills High School got a peek into the state’s largest infrastructure project when the New NY Bridge educational outreach team came to their school this academic year. “We asked them to focus on the engineering aspects of it although some science students were there,” BHHS teacher Paul Beeken said.

Photos courtesy New York State Thruway Authority.

The presentation included the politics of getting a megaproject started. “One fascinating concept for us (students) was how to get a project like this in place,” Beeken said.

This year one of BHHS’s classes built a truss build from balsa wood and was challenged to see how much it can carry versus the weight of the bridge itself. “With this in mind, they have an understanding it’s a tradeoff: cost of materials and how heavy is the bridge versus how much can it carry,” he said.

Beeken requested the presentation focus on engineering and the stress factors: what goes into building the roadway, the technologies needed to lift roadway and how the super crane was able to lift the weights it did as he’d finished a unit on forces including weights and pulleys.

When the kids asked Marcy where he got his degree, he told them he’s not an engineer and explained his background. “That was very valuable,” Beeken said, “because the kids could see someone who wasn’t an engineer but who was still very articulate about all the different facets of the project.”

Engineering is only one part of the project, he noted. “While maybe one-tenth of the class will become engineers, it’s important to have a basic literacy to more easily navigate the subject.”

“Before the (Tappan Zee) bridge was built there was nothing there, so no one had any expectations about what a bridge would do,” Beeken said. “Now (building a bridge today) is 10 times more difficult because people need that bridge and depend upon it. You want to build a new one, so the logistics of being able to build a new bridge without ever shutting down the old one presents challenges.”

Read full article, details in the current issue of Inside Chappaqua magazine here.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: