Failure is a huge part of learning and creating. When you fail at something, you’re collecting information, practicing, and coming up with new solutions that can help improve the project and your understanding of it. You may also be finding the project’s failure points. As Sabrina Cruz explains in this Crash Course Kids episode:
“Engineers fail all the time when they’re trying to find the best solution to a problem. In fact, failing is really important because it helps you figure out how to make a solution that really does work. And to do that, engineers need to find their failed solutions’ failure points… the point at which a solution doesn’t work anymore.”
Example: The bridge below is great for foot traffic, but how much weight can it handle before it breaks? “That specific amount of weight would be the bridge’s failure point.”
Next, Cruz explains how to find and fix failure points by setting up models and trials that help you fail on purpose. Creating an organized plan that includes isolating and testing variables through a series of trials can identify failure points and help you improve the project. A quick definition from Science Buddies:
The things that are changing in an experiment are called variables. A variable is any factor, trait, or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types. An experiment usually has three kinds of variables: independent, dependent, and controlled.
Also, how crazy are the videos of Galloping Gertie?
Watch this next: What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process.
Plus, watch more bridge videos, more videos about testing, more engineering videos, and more videos about fails, including these excellent related projects and videos for all ages:
• Spaghetti bridges, a DIY engineering activity
• How to make Leonardo da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge
• Construct a Roman aqueduct, a DIY engineering activity