Practical Activities for Civil Structures


Engineering Studies – H1 Civil Engineering – Practical Activities

This section contains classroom practical challenges that enhance the learning of engineering concepts. The challenges link to Engineering Studies outcome.

  • Engineered structures
  • Trusses
  • Beams
  • Stress and Strain
  • Material testing procedures
  • Corrosion
  • Materials -composites, glass, ceramic

Suggested short practical activities include:

  • Ice-block Stick testing

Using a simple loading system, test the load carrying ability of a stick laid flat/laid on its edge.

Use data to determine BMD


  • Testing of material properties

Practical application of appropriate physical and chemical tests on materials

Determine properties and applications of different engineering materials.

With use of a Hounsfield Tensometer carry out load/extension tests (tensile, compression, hardness, shear tests)

Understand the conversion of raw Tensometer data from Loads and Elongation to Stress and Strain. The latter enabling global comparisons.


  • The structure of composite materials

Materials,  Syllabus: p.25, p26

The macro/micro assessment of the structure of composite engineering materials

Equipment:  Optical microscope, or hand lens with about 10 X power

Specimens: Small examples of a number of different composite materials from the following categories;

Timber – hardwood, softwood, plywood, compressed fibreboard.

Cement, concrete


Laminates – glass

Process: To examine the surface of each specimen with the naked eye, and appropriate magnifying equipment, to determine the physical structure of each sample. Surfaces showing differing features in colour or texture should be photographed or sketched. Components of the specimen should be identified and structure identified, where it can be determined and their physical hardness should be quantified when compared with other features of the material.

Some components of materials can be elements, compounds, or amorphous in structure. Crystals in a structure should be identified and noted.

Data recorded from this process should be examined and research taken on to identify the particular composites and their use.

  • Stretching wire

– strain practical – data collection – report writing.

– instructions for classroom test : Stretching Wires



  • The Straw Bridge

The-Straw-Bridge-instructions (1)



Word champion
A Tensometer demonstration.