I noticed on the syllabus that I refer to a packet. I can't, for the life of me, figure out what that was or where the file is! I'm assuming it's where I gave students more information about how to build the bridge. If I find it, I'll send it along.
Here are the files I have for the project. The last time I did the project was 2004, so it's been awhile. I used West Point Bridge Designer to have students practice designing their bridges before they built them. I can't remember the size of the balsa wood we used, but it was pretty thin. I once had a student use bigger wood than was allowed and his bridge never broke....so make sure you are very clear about what kind of wood the students should get.
Jessica, please make your new teachers aware of my book. "THINK YOU CAN TEACH? A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS". Thank You.
Leon Avrech, San Jose, CA retired 37 yrs. in middle school. Available at amazon.com barnesandnoble.com
I saw your message looking for problem based projects. I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for, but some projects I've done with my physics students are building water rockets out of 2 liter bottles and building bridges out of thin balsa wood. I don't know if that's what you mean by building technology...but just thought I'd mention it. If you want more information, let me know. I have the worksheets I used for the projects.