During the design phase of our Balsa Bridge unit, I use this page to help students to create a full-scale version of their designs. Each square in this lined paper is 1/8 inch, which is equal to the thickness of the materials that we are using.
This paper is then used as a template to follow by placing on a sheet of foam-core and taping a layer of waxed paper on top. Students then cut each piece, glue on top of their design (the waxed paper keeps the sticks from sticking to the design page), and pin the pieces in place while the glue dries.
Can be used with a "destructive" bridge testing system.
Typically, students design on day 1, build Side A on days 2-3, Side B on days 4-5, and connect the two sides on day 6. Day 7 is reserved for weighing and testing.
Since our testing destroys each bridge, I make sure to get a photo of students with their bridges on the test platform before we test. This allows me to see who did each one, and what it looked like prior to the testing.