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91061: Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts related to structures

Updated August 2014. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

Exploring structures

To develop their understandings, students should be provided with the opportunity to explore a range of pin jointed column and beam structures that are not overly complicated. This could include scaffolding, ladders and some types of furniture, bridges and playground equipment.


Students will need to understand the difference between internal loads and external loads acting on structural members when they investigate safety factors. An example would be a ladder that is leaning against a wall and being in a state of equilibrium as opposed to someone climbing the ladder and applying load to the rungs


Students are required to demonstrate their understanding of what is meant by tension, compression, shear and torsion in pin jointed columns and beams only.


Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the types of joints found in structural members, for example mortise and tenon joints commonly found in chair construction; bolted joints and welded joints commonly found in playground equipment.

Evidence of understanding

Evidence of understanding could include annotated drawings and photographs, mock-ups, functional modelling, quotes and video clips.

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