- Lynn Ann Wiscount, Vince Mariner, Erin Halovanic
- Applied Science, Architecture and Design, Engineering, Graphic Arts, Communication, Career and Technical Education, English Language Arts, Mathematics
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Middle School, High School
- Creative Commons Attribution
- Media Formats:
Bridge (Engineering) from Britannica
Bridges Around The World Graphic Organizer
Bridges & Tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA
Explain That Stuff: Bridge
History of Bridges
How Stuff Works: How Bridges Work
Rubric for Building Bridges
Structural Elements of Bridges
Types of Bridges Based on Span, Materials, Structures, Functions, Utility, etc.
Types of Bridges Graphic Organizer
Students will learn about the different types of bridges and how they work. The lesson also includes a maker component where the students build a bridge.
Students will be able to:
- Describe and identify the most common types of bridges.
- Describe the strenghths and weaknesses of each type of bridge.
- Explain constraints and tension and show how it works on each bridge type.
- Construct a bridge using one of the common bridge types that can support a predetermined amount of weight.
Warm Up / Introduction
This activity will be a visual walkabout.
- Using the POWER Library and other image databases, locate and print out 10 to 12 images about the 6 types of bridges (Arch, Beam, Cable-stayed, Cantilever, Truss, Suspension)
- Label the images with numbers so students know where to start.
- Place the images around the room so students can walk to examine each one.
- Under each image post a T chart. The left side of the chart should be labeled CONNECTIONS and the right side should be labeled QUESTIONS.
- Have each student visit each image, ask them to consider how the images relate to the lesson. They should add at least one connection and one question on the T chart for each image.
- Keep images on display throughout the lesson and have students continue to add connections and questions.
Responses from the T charts can be referred to in other sections of the lesson.
This can also be used as a way of assessing prior knowledge on the topic.
Once everyone has had time to view the images, have a group discussion around the following questions:
- When was the last time you remembered crossing a bridge?
- How were you traveling (foot, car, bike, etc.)
- Do you remember anything about the bridge?
- Were there any unique characteristics?
- What was the bridge erected over? (water, train tracks, road, etc.)
- Draw a sketch of the bridge.
This activity can also be done using digital images in a folder and having the T charts in Microsoft Word or Google Docs or any other word processing program that can be used for collaboraton.
Research / Explore Activity
Resources in the POWER Library that can be used for this lesson includes:
You have been hired as an engineer that will be designing and building a bridge. In order to prepare for your job, you need to learn about the different types of bridges, how they work, and what materials can be used to build them. You also need to understand the bridge terminology.
Part 1 - Research the following questions:
Part 2 - Types of Bridges Graphic Organizer
Part 3 - Bridges Around the World Graphic Organizer
Reinforcement / Creation Activity
Groups of students will design and build a bridge that will be at least 14 inches in length and hold a predetermined amount of weight.
- As the instructor, you will be required to determine what the bridge should hold (100 pennies, 5 pounds, 20 pounds, two matchbox cars, etc.)
This activity is broken down into two (2) sections:
- Planning phrase - groups of students draw a blueprint of what they will build and determine a building list of materials they will be using. Once they have completed their blueprint, they will present it to their clients (the class) for feedback. Based on the feedback, they will adjust their project or continue onto the building phrase.
- Building Phrase - groups will construct their bridges from their blueprint. Once the bridge is completed, they will test it to see if it holds the required weight.
Instructors should have multiple types of building materials available for the students to use. Each team of students is responsible for determining the best type of materials to use to create their project.
- Reflect on the lesson plan and document what worked for you, what did not work for you, and what you would change for the next time you utilize this lesson.
Take a few moments to reflect on the following: