During the first unit of WHSAD”s 9th grade architecture class, our students were tasked with designing and building truss bridges. The challenge was to design bridges, using only balsa wood and glue, that can withstand as much weight as possible. Students also had the task of designing their bridges to be as light as possible. When the bridges are tested, a proportion of how much the bridges hold versus how light they are is calculated. This is called an efficiency rating . Basically, the less material it takes to hold a large amount of weight makes for the better bridge. In the real world, this would save a company a great deal of money in labor and material costs. Please check back for pat 2 of this article, where the method of testing these bridges will be detailed. In addiction, videos of this process will be posted.