The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster
activity is and opportunity for students reinforce and expand their knowledge
of resonance. The disaster
provides an exciting real-life example of resonance.
This activity should take about 25-30 minutes
groups (3 or 4)
The objective of this second wave activity
is to reinforce resonance.
How can sound shake a bridge apart?
materials needed, only a media player for the video. If the there is difficulty playing the movie, go to the
original website: http://www.archive.org/details/SF121
Photocopy enough activity sheets for each student.
Play video and then have students read Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Disaster discussion as a group. They should highlight the important points. Take a moment to answer any general questions before
students move onto the closure questions. Remind students to be prepared to discuss their responses as a class. After students complete their closure
questions, give them a chance to discuss the bridge disaster. There are some very interesting
tangents the students will take. The instructor can collect the activity sheets before or
after the class discussion. The
Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster is a collaborative learning activity. To succeed, students will need to work
together and use their time wisely.
will be assessed based on their closure question answers.
1) The bridge was forced to vibrate at its own natural
frequency? What is this called and
how is it related to our last experiment?
Resonance, and the bridge like the
air column in the resonance tube experiment is being forced to vibrate at its
2) How does the bridges vibration relate to someone being
pushed on a swing?
If a father matches the natural
frequency of his son being pushed on a swing, the amplitude of the son’s motion
will increase. If it does not
match, the amplitude will decrease.
3) How could the principle of harmonic resonance be used as
a tool for building demolition companies?
Match the natural frequency of
building or structure and force it to vibrate and you may shake it down.
4) Did the wind really knock over this bridge? Explain.
Yes and no, the
wind caused the vibration, but it didn’t push the bridge ov