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Have you ever watched gymnasts work on the uneven or the parallel bars? Remember how the bars flex and bounce when the athletes swing up into a handstand or prepare for their dismount? Suppose you were responsible for choosing the material for the beams. How would you decide what material to use? How flexible should it be? How much force should it withstand without breaking?


  • Students will engage in an inquiry activity to develop a model based on observations (of their own devising) from the physical world.
  • Students will understand how the choice of material affects the deflection of a center-loaded beam, supported on both ends, with identical volume and mass of material.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #3 of Materials Testing: Beams to Bridges with Go Direct® Structures & Materials Tester. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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