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BUILDING BIG
Bridges
Domes
Skyscrapers
Dams
Tunnels
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  Mini-Activity: Name That Load
Activites Index | Glossary Educator Support  

Definition Loads create a force on a structure. 
Dead load The weight of the permanent, nonmoveable parts of a structure, such as the towers, cables, and roadway of a bridge.  
Live load The weight of a structure's nonpermanent, moveable parts, contents, or "users," such as the traffic, people, and seagulls on a bridge. Environmental loads, such as wind, rain, and earthquakes, that can affect a structure temporarily are also live loads.


1. Have groups of kids look around the room and make a list of as many different loads affecting the room as they can. 
2. List everyone's loads on the board. The group should decide whether each load is live or dead. (Dead loads include the weight of the walls, ceiling, floor, and any permanent fixtures such as ceiling lights, wallpaper, paint, and windows. Live loads include things that are not fixed, such as furniture, people, signs and pictures hanging on the wall, plants, and wind blowing outside.) 
3. Have the group estimate the room's load, assuming the floor and walls weigh 50 lbs./sq.ft. and the ceiling weighs 30 lbs./sq. ft. Use a scale to weigh small furniture.

Try the Loads Lab. 

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