The 5th and 6th graders put their engineering, construction, and problem-solving skills to work building bridges. First, they chose a type of bridge – truss, suspension, beam, cantilever, arch, cable-stayed – and researched the pros and cons of the design and actual bridges constructed in that style.
Then, with simple materials the students built their own bridges, careful to reinforce for weight and pressure. Their ideas were creative – straws filled with spaghetti to add strength, for example – and when it came time to test, everyone’s bridge held a surprising amount of weight. Cans of food and coins were the most popular test weights. This project lent itself well to virtual learning, as they created the bridges at home and then tested them in a virtual classroom where everyone could watch and comment.