Super Structure Coding – Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Model

A fascinating history of Tower Bridge. Learn when it was built, who designed it, when it was built and how it works. Then get some hands on with this great structure, decide the safest way to operate it. Do a risk assessment, a flowchart to determine the best sequence of operations before you write the code to make all the parts move to make sure that the traffic stops, the bridge rises to let ships pass through safely before allowing the cars to drive over it again.

(Other Super Structures are available)

 

Reception

  • The history of Tower Bridge is presented and discussed with the group.
  • Things like why was it needed and what would have happened if it was just an ordinary bridge are explored.
  • The order and sequence of the all the things that need to happen to make the bridge open safely are discussed.
  • Each part of the sequence is then broken down into smaller steps and each of those are looked at in greater detail.
  • Decisions have to be made about how those steps will operate and for how long, what has to happen before and after each step before it all gets joined together to make it all work.
  • The code is demonstrated and explained on a projector before showing the actual parts move. Then we get to test the super structure itself to see if it behaves!

Key Stage 1

  • After an introduction groups are encouraged to think about what could go wrong if Tower Bridge did things in the wrong order, what might happen if the bridge opened with cars still on it or if the bridge closed with a ship underneath it.
  • Use some maths skills to find out what the safe speeds are for certain boats and ships to travel along the river.
  • Flowcharts can be created and discussed to determine the order of operations needed to make the bridge safe for people, cars and ships.
  • Then get to practice writing the code in small logical steps at the different work stations for things like traffic barriers, traffic lights, bridge hooter and bridge opening.
  • Then join up with other groups and decide on the tricky problem of having to assemble all of the small bits of code into a big program!

Key Stage 2

  • After an introduction groups are encouraged to think about what could go wrong if Tower Bridge did things in the wrong order, what might happen if the bridge opened with cars still on it or if the bridge closed with a ship underneath it.
  • Use some maths skills to find out what the safe speeds are for certain boats and ships to travel along the river.
  • Flowcharts can be created and discussed to determine the order of operations needed to make the bridge safe for people, cars and ships.
  • Decisions will have to be made about using timers, switches and sensors.
  • How many inputs and outputs are required? What kind of devices are best to use to control all of this complicated stuff?
  • Then get to practice writing the code in small logical steps at the different work stations for things like traffic barriers, traffic lights, ship hooters, warning lights, bridge opening and a few other things.
  • Then join up with other groups and decide on the tricky problem of having to assemble all of the small bits of code into a big program!