Suspension Workshop

Suspension Workshop

Alexander Aptekar

Architectural Technology & Library /

LEARNING PLACES: UNDERSTANDING THE CITY

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In this workshop, you will work in teams and groups of teams to create a model suspension bridge. Your model suspension bridge will be tested until structural failure. In reflections, you will individually analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your modeled suspension bridge.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

• Developing your understanding of suspension structures
• Increasing your analysis and problem-solving abilities
• Sharpening your observation and reflection skills
• Deepening your collaborative team techniques

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This workshop should occur towards the beginning of the semester as part of the introduction to observation skills and techniques.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

Low-stakes

Each team will utilize the following kit of materials:
• Wood blocks (4” x ¾” × ¾”), 18 min
• String, 8’ lengths
• Straws, 14
• Sheets of paper, 3 @ 4” x 17”
• Scissors
• Masking tape, 3’ length
• Tape measure (only one for the workshop required)

Team goals
Construct a model of a suspension bridge utilizing only the materials provided. The bridge must be strong enough to support at least one cell phone at its center. [Recommendation; offer extra points for every additional cell phone the bridge can support]

Team makeup
Each bridge group will consist of two 3 to 4 member teams. Each team is responsible for one half of the bridge spanning from one of the supporting tables to the center of the bridge.

Bridging the gap
Each bridge group will need to span between two tables set 36” apart.

Bridge assembly
The bridge constructed should include the following parts:
• Anchorage (blocks)
• Deck (paper)
• Main cable (string)
• Suspender cables (straws)
• Tower (blocks)

Timing
Your bridge group will have 20 minutes to develop your solution before testing will commence.

Testing
The structural integrity and quality of your bridge will be tested by checking to see how many cell phones the bridge will be able to support. The class will observe as each bridge is tested. Be ready to document where and what are the causes of structural failure. At 20 second intervals, additional cell phones will be added to the Main span of the bridge until the bridge collapses. [It’s recommended that students be ready to catch their cell phones and have their hands under the bridge at least 3 inches away from the bridge deck]

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

Reflections /Documentation
Each team member will need to post on the Open Lab their reflections on this workshop. Be sure to include the following issues in your reflections:
• What strategy did your team used to solve the problem?
• Did you use the iteration process effectively?
• What were the hardest team organization challenges?
• What are the hardest technical challenges?
• What part of the bridge did you think would collapse first?
• What part did collapse first and why?
• Include at least two photographs, sketches or diagrams in your reflection.

Assessment
This assignment will be evaluated by reviewing your reflections on the Open Lab. The focus of this evaluation will be the lessons learned in this workshop. Additional points will be given for each cell phone your groups bridge could support.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

Following are some quotes from student reflections on this project. Additional reflections can be seen at this site:

https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/aptekar-berger2205sp2017/assignments/216-reflection-on-suspension-bridgeobservation-sketch/

“Today’s class project was very challenging and hands on. It is something I enjoyed doing because my team worked well together to create a steady bridge. Although, it took some time to figure out how to actually build a proper bridge was kind of difficult considering I know nothing about architecture or building. My team mates worked together from putting straws together to taking down blocks to the table. Overall, we learned that the anchorage is the most important part which is something our bridge lacked. Now we know for next time what to spend more money on.”
Alexandra Linik

“…

3. I learnt that the cabling is as important as the others structures as well. Since it is suspension bridge, both the weight of the deck and the live loads will be hung by the suspenders. So the connection between the horizontal cable and vertical cables should be strong enough to hold all the weights. And the angle of the cable from the anchorage should be calculated in order to reduce the extra forces.

4. Lastly, I think we can design our towers of the bridge more pretty, because I learnt that putting weights on the towers do not help in order to stabilize the bridge.”
Alice Myint

“In today’s class the most interesting and challenging part was to make a suspension bridge using small wood blocks, ribbon, tape, paper and our creative mind of course. I got to know some of my classmates whom I have worked with throughout the project. I think architectural stuffs sounds like easy, but it’s really not and the worst experience was when we made the bridge and it’s collapsed twice. But we did not lose hopes and we made a well -organized and furnished bridge with beautiful two anchorages and deck. The “deck” should be strong because the weight on the bridge is related on the base and it’s connected to the deck of both sides of the bridge. We put 4 phones on the bridge and it was still in the same position, but however it collapsed when 5th phone added on the bridge. But in the class we had much fun when working with as a group. We were very excited to see how others work done and that was the coolest part because we can learn something how they made their own. Overall, it was very cool, making a bridge with elementary stuffs and a great experience to work with my classmates.”
Mdzafar Sadak

“The class project that we have was pretty intresting because we get to work together as we form two group. One group was to build one half of the bridge and the other group would do the other half of it. The challageing part was trying to combine the bridge and form a deck that could support the weight. We through that it would help but as it turn out after we finish building it and testing it that it wasn’t the deck that we create can support the weight it was the anchor was the most important part of it that would have support the weight of it. The thing that i learn most was no matter what type of bridge that people make if the anchor is not strong enough then the whole bridge would fall.”
Alan Qiu

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

I welcome comments and suggestions. I am be happy to provide you with more documentation including diagrams and photographs for this workshop. Don’t hesitate to reach out by email.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Assessing the Whole Student

Assessing the Whole Student

Jason Montgomery

Architectural Technology/Technology and Design

ARCH 1130 Building Technology I

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In this course, students are required to set up their e-portfolioon OpenLab. Here the e-portfolio is used as a learning log, assignment submission system, and assessment tool. All aspects of the student work for the semester are documented and uploaded, including their sketchbook sketches, their notes from assignment readings, as well as their technical drawing assignments.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

There are multiple goals of this approach to using the e-portfolio:
1. Students learn to use an internet tool to present themselves to an audience.
2. The way the students organize the site, the clarity of the presentation, the rigor of the organization, the care put into the graphics (clean scans, neatly cropped versus smartphone picture with poor focus or lighting and background distraction…) is an opportunity to assess digital skills, engagement, presentation skills and to work with students that need help with these.
3. The e-portfolio serves as a learning log, where students can become more conscious of their learning, seeing the connections between various activities in the course and across different courses when this activity is more broadly utilized (breaking out of silos).
4. The faculty can use this tool assess the student holistically, especially with a range of required activities in the course (such as reading comprehension, building foundational knowledge in the discipline, technical drawing, thinking and articulation of ideas through freehand drawing)
5. The e-portfolio becomes a tool for subsequent faculty to assess the skills of students at THE BEGINNING of the semester, so they can tailor assignments and adjust sequence to address needs of that particular group of students.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The e-portfolio must be introduced at the beginning of the semester in order to effectively capture the whole semester of student work. The students require more or less a one hour demonstration of how to set up their site, the interface on OpenLab, scanning and uploading images, adding pages and organizing menus. It is important to show them the support pages on OpenLab and the help desk.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

The faculty member may need training in OpenLab to be better able to administer and support this activity. The faculty member and the students could benefit from seeing examples of other’s e-portfolios to inspire and help them visualize what they are trying to do.

This activity is important if it becomes part a broader tool across a department, so the stakes are significant in this context.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

This activity is a tool that facilitates assessment, but it could be assessed directly too, with a rubric that gauges the care and organization of the site.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

The students’ portfolios expressed a wide range of skill and care, but this in itself is useful. As the end of the semester approached, the students had a very clear visualization of what remained to be completed; they had a clear sense of their responsibility to meet the course requirements.

Many students struggle with what are becoming entry level skills with technology: scanning, manipulating and converting files, digital editing… These skills become important to the success of the students, but are often not part of the curriculum. This activity raises awareness of the need to support the students with their development of these skills.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

A particular component of this activity, which will be documented in a separate L4 activity template, is the reading and note taking activity that was part of the e-portfolio submissions. This activity proved much deeper and more direct as a tool for assessing student reading comprehension than a typical quiz.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Reading Notes

Bustling Vacancy_ Mapping “behavioral” city patterns to produce architectural space

Bustling Vacancy_ Mapping “behavioral” city patterns to produce architectural space

Loukia Tsafoulia

Architectural Technology/Technology & Design

ARCH3609_Integrated Software in the Architectural Office https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/3609-integrated-software-in-the-architectural-office/

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In this course, I create a project with multiple components that incorporates research, evidence, reading and thinking critically, demands organization and presentation skills and requires the ability to work collaboratively. Students work in groups of 2 or 3 over a semester period to produce a highly conceptual design project that is generated following rules of grammar, logic and mathematics. The project brings together the Urban and the Architectural scales through a series of NYC data abstractions and the establishment of rules that will define the students’ design in the architectural scale.

The students are asked to come up with a design dictionary of 3 main architectural elements that serves as their “alphabet” for space creation. At the same time, each group focuses on developing a visual language to discuss, collect, measure, map and quantify NYC behaviors/patterns. The students will respond to the literal and symbolic notion of “Motus” in the city, and create mappings, diagrams, data visualizations and diaries. The projects will ultimately be based on the cartography of their architectural
elements in such a way that they relate to the city mapping analysis. The assembly of these elements will ultimately create a spatial 3d pattern which programmatically serves as an open air experiential space in an empty city lot.

The assigned project involves four process stages:
– “Alphabet” stage
The “Alphabet” stage involves the creation of a design dictionary of three basic architectural elements: stair, wall and atrium. These are the “bricks” students will be using to construct their space.

– “Data” stage
This stage involves the study of New York City’s five boroughs using data analysis in order to identify and map “behavioral” city patterns such as patterns of noise, circulation, population, income, crime rates, programmatic uses, urban density, energy consumption etc. The teams select a minimum of two datamaps and numeric tables supporting these maps and through research, observation and analysis they correlate them and create a series of abstractions.

– “Syntax” stage
During the “Syntax” stage the students extract rules out of the city patterns that will define in a later stage their design. Outcome of this phase is a series of 2d diagrams and graphs explaining the “behavior” of each of the maps and their diagrammatic interpretation in 3d.

– “Composition” stage
This stage is about composing all the material produced during the Alphabet, the Data and the Syntax phases. The students employ the generated rules in order to assemble their architectural elements’ studies. They put together selected wall, atrium and stair studies (a minimum of 2 studies) following the rules extracted from the city pattern research to create a project. The projects will not take data literally. They will rather depart from conventional data definitions and ask what is the city, what is data, and how can they be re-applied in an architectural scale.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

For this project the students are provided with guidelines for a better understanding of the integration of specialized software into all aspects of the architectural profession. The class simulates the design office space complexity so the students familiarize with its demands.
Students work in groups, demonstrating teamwork spirit, schedule and manage their time in collaboration with others, be professional with timeframes, enhance their speech and rhetoric skills. They have to weekly fill out timesheets learning how to be efficient with the hours spent per task.

The work environment demands that employees work together responsibly so learning in the classroom is initiated in a highly collaborative, interactive, and experiential way and the evaluation and feedback given in between them is encouraging, learning focused and transparent.

Students have to use data related to their city as their driver towards design. During this process students develop research, analytical and compositional skills. They conduct research related to NYC data using online resources such as https://nycopendata.socrata.com/ , http://nyc.pediacities.com/Nycpedia ,
http://wirednewyork.com/forum/ and learn how to properly cite sources. They gather, interpret, evaluate, and apply information discerningly from a variety of sources. Students present regularly throughout the semester to invited professionals from the architecture and urban design as well as curatorial fields. The presentations are in the form of printed boards 24”by36” (I provide them with the template) and oral presentation. Through publicly presenting their work students gain confidence and conscientiousness on their production, engage in constructive dialog with professionals and through this personalized experience increase their interest towards higher education levels.
Students curate all the work produced for the class including their group project in an individual book / portfolio. Main emphasis is given into the narrative of their design concepts and how they all tie together. Story telling is the center of their curation. Every book represents each author so each student should manifest his/her arguments through this book. Together with a printed version the students are also asked to use OpenLab, Archinect and Issuu as platforms to digitally create their eportfolio.

In the end of the semester, I showcase students work at my online digital platform PLB_Education (see link below) giving students the opportunity to be exhibited, to make their achievements visible not only to School’ ‘s community but also to the wider public. For the next semester I plan to also use OpenLab as an online platform in which students will post their blogs and discussions participating in a more interactive learning process. This project and its supportive materials (online archive, recordings etc) create a strong base for continuation past the course’s teaching period. Each subsequent class will build on previous semester classes’ work and therefore document how NYC data progressively alter.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This activity is a semester long project. I introduce the project on week #2 when I spend 30 minutes in class explaining the details, giving references and engaging on brief discussion with the students. I also post the project’s detailed description, resources, references and tutorials on Blackboard. For this coming semester I will also use the OpenLab platform for discussions and open feedback. From that point on my lectures and weekly assignments support with knowledge on integrated software the evolution of the project.
After Midterm I split the class in two sections: first part is a lecture or workshop on software and technical skills and the second part (60mnts) is organised as desk-critiques or open discussion on each team’s progress and concept.

Students are required to work in groups and meet once per week with their collaborator/s for two hours of brainstorming. Then they have to distribute the tasks between them in order to meet the weekly goals of the project as defined in the weekly assignment handouts. I expect students to devote 4 hours weekly over the course of a semester. They use a timesheet template created in google drive to control the time spent per task. Generally, I will allow some class time for students to meet and discuss and for me to check in with their groups, however, students are expected to devote time outside the classroom for gathering and analyzing their data and composing their design.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

The students are given step by step all the software and theoretical support needed to develop the project’s multiple components in the form of weekly lectures and class discussions. So, the project is broken down to 10 weekly assignments/tasks outlined in the form of instructional handouts. I also post on Blackboard:
Tutorials and Class Recordings so I support them with possible software questions they may have outside the class hours.
– References and Resources.
– Base files for their convenience.

The students are given a template they have to follow and fill with required visuals and text description for their project’s presentation. These are boards 24” by 36” that they gather all the material needed to visualize their project (see project’s brief). Additionally, the whole class is sharing a google spreadsheet that serves as timesheets documenting hours spent per task as individuals and as groups for the project (see project’s brief).

High-Impact Educational Practices: Which of these practices based on George Kuh’s High Impact Educational Practices (and other innovative approaches) does this activity incorporate? Choose all that apply.

Collaborative assignments and projects, Open Digital Pedagogy (the OpenLab), Undergraduate research, Capstone courses and projects, Place-Based Learning

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

This project is 50% of the overall grade. All the students have to weekly upload their work digitally on Blackboard following a given file name protocol. I have designed and posted on Blackboard a Rubric relevant to the project’s learning objectives with 5 scales (needs improvement, satisfactory, good quality, excellent quality). The class is broken down into four big presentations (1/4 pin up, Midterm Review, 3/4 pin up , Final Review). The overall grade for this project is outcome of their weekly submissions grade (40%) as well as their 4 main group presentations grade (60%) throughout the semester.

The performance criteria I asses for their group project presentations in my Rubric are based on oral communication:

Organization
– Ability to collaborate and present successfully as a group a highly sophisticated project.
– Professionality in presentation and meeting the given deadlines.
– Followed layout and visualization instructions for the project.

Quality of Supporting Material:
– Neatness and accuracy of the visuals.
– Quality of written description.
– Quality of city data analysis and data interpretation.
– Quality of final design as defined by the constraints set by the city data each team is analysing.

Delivery
– Quality of oral presentation. The presentation techniques, speech and posture as well as
coordination btw the group members are appropriate and appealing.
– Quality of plotted boards (nicely cut, pinned and in great resolution).

The performance criteria I asses for their weekly group project digital submissions are:
– followed instructions and submission on time
– file composition
– file neatness & accuracy,
– file line weights & resolution
– file presentation.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

This is the second semester I assign this project and students have positively responded addressing it as one of the most motivating and challenging projects they have dealt with. It has been a motivator towards high quality of work and a very interactive and vivid class. I am very excited to implement all the knowledge obtained through the Living Lab Seminars related to the use of OpenLab and the incorporation of HEP and General Education SLO’s to the project’s brief. This assignment has many components so in order to create a very clear methodology for the students I have to provide them with very specific visualization steps, templates and class recordings. Directing all the steps of the project, creating an online platform to exhibit their work, creating timesheets, refining the rubrics for this project’s assessment and providing them in advance to the students has made my teaching overall more effective.

The main challenge is having the students work in groups and being able to manage their time accordingly. For that reason, I create an hierarchy similar to the office space where the working team reports to the project leader regularly through emails, timesheets and notes on each others projects shared with the whole class.

This project by nature relates not only to architectural, urban and preservation design oriented fields but also to Curatorial Fields and Social Sciences. Since this project is based on both qualitative and quantitative data analysis there could be a correlation with Math fields as well. Finally, the project focuses on developing a visual language to discuss, collect, measure, and quantify data. The students and create mappings, diagrams, data visualizations, diaries so I could imagine this project being part of Visual Arts Studies. In the future, I would like to further the project to better connect STEM fields with Liberal Arts.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These could be in the form of PDF or Word files, links to posts or files on the OpenLab, etc.

This is link shows the course’s OpenLab page with the courses syllabus and the weekly handouts, and the description for this project. This website is still under construction and will be used for the next
semester:

https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/3609-integrated-software-in-the-architectural-office/

This link showcases students work from the previous semester:
http://www.plbny.com/#!3609-bustling-vacancy/c1y5p