Imagine you are walking across a simple plank that spans a creek and you stop in the middle of the plank to enjoy the scenery. Consider the plank you are standing on. You will notice it is bowing a bit downward where you stand. If you were to change the dimensions, could you make the beam less flexible (more rigid)?


  • Students will engage in an inquiry activity to develop a mathematical model based on observations (of their own devising) of the physical world.
  • Students will understand the factors that affect the deflection of a center-loaded rectangular beam, supported on both ends, including width, thickness, and length.
  • Students will construct a model representing the relationship of factors affecting the deflection of center-loaded rectangular beams.