
Modeling Mania
Cindy Jackson 


45 
Two to four 45minute class periods 

Whether the task is reinforcing a bridge or building a tower, the
Cyberchase kids use mathematics and problemsolving
strategies to solve the toughest problems. Cyberchase
is a daily, animated adventure TV series on PBS Kids that engages
8 to 11yearolds in the fun and challenge of mathematics. In this
lesson, students will view clips from the Cyberchase
episode "Modeling Behavior" to examine the usefulness
and applications of creating models. They will then create their
own models to solve a problem of a scientific nature: making a bridge
that won't collapse.
Students will be able to:
 Describe techniques helpful in solving spatial problems which
utilize the notion that a model is a simplified version of something
complicated;
 Describe that models can be used to easily and safely understand
how something works;
 Utilize methods such as sketching or drawing possible solutions
to a problem;
 Create a model requiring specific dimensions and materials.
From the National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, available online
at:
http://standards.nctm.org/document/chapter5/index.htm
 Representations: To use representations to model and interpret
physical, social and mathematical phenomena.
 Geometry: To use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric
modeling to solve problems.
 To analyze characteristics and properties of two and three
dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments
about geometric relationships.
Video:
Cyberchase #122: Modeling Behavior
Web sites:
Meet
the Cyberchase Kids
http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/meet.html
Students have the opportunity to learn about the primary characters
appearing in Cyberchase.
Super
Bridge: Build a Bridge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bridge/build.html
Teachers may consult this site for additional information to enrich
their basic understanding of bridge building.
Super Bridge: Beam Bridges
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bridge/meetbeam.html
Teachers may also use this site as an additional source on building
other types of bridges.
For the class:
 Manila folders (See "Prep for Teachers" on next
page for further information.)
 Scissors
 Hole punch
 Several boxes of paper fasteners (1/2inch)
 Several boxes of wooden stirrers (preferably the small type)
 Several bottles of glue
 Several rolls of pennies
 Several centimeter rulers
 Paper towels
 Plastic Bags

