Engineering Marvels: Bridges


This unit study brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities together with art and design in a fun and challenging way. I am delighted to share these activities with you so that you may teach engineering concepts to your children and build on their natural curiosity through hands-on learning.

Engineering is, after all, one of the fastest growing industries in the world! The projects and activities outlined here can be modified for small groups or with individual students.



This mini-unit includes several lessons and activities to introduce students in middle grades to the history and science of bridges.

  • Science of Bridges – A thorough look at the six basic bridge forms: beam, truss, arch, cantilever, cable- stay, and suspension. Learn how they each differ with this pictorial summary.
  • Suspension Bridges of the World – Focusing on suspension bridges around the world, students gather information from a table to create graphs and visual timelines.
  • Vibrations & Simulations – Could earthquake vibrations cause a bridge to break apart? This activity explores the pros / cons of simulations versus computer based models.
  • Bridge Design Contest – Students design a truss style bridge that utilizes toothpicks and school glue. Upon completion, their designs are put to the test. Will it hold up?


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