Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Students Build Bridges

by Ed Sheppard, US Math/Computer Science Teacher
Students in Shorecrest Upper School’s Introduction to Engineering, Robotics, and Programming course have recently completed a Bridge Project in their engineering structures module.

In the Bridge Project, students were introduced to the engineering principles surrounding structural design, including topics such as force, tension and compression, and reviewing different materials and how their configurations can impact their overall ability to carry loads. They discussed external forces that may impact a bridge and the geometry involved in bridge building.

Students were then assigned a hands-on project of designing and building a bridge in groups of 3, using 150 popsicle sticks and glue. Their final bridges had to be visually appealing, and stretch across an open span while holding at least 20 lbs for 1 minute. They tracked their trials in an engineering notebook and shared what they learned in classroom presentations.

The students had a really great time learning about bridges and building them. One of their bridges held 650 lbs! The final load was tested in the Athletic Center weight room.

In addition, students were asked to provide a self-reflection on the knowledge they gained from the project. The students enjoyed the project and most would recommend this class and the project to their peers. Here are some of their comments about what they learned:

“I learned about tension and compression and how triangles distribute weight. I also learned about the types of bridges and why they work well.”
“I learned the structure of bridges and how you can create something extremely strong with limited materials.”
“I learned how bridges work, how they are made, and what techniques are utilized in order to make bridges last as long as possible, and how they are made as safe as possible, and general engineering concepts such as how forces act on an object and how engineers circumvent these problems. I also learned lessons in time management, such as having to complete the engineering notebook and slideshow presentation as the project develops, instead of at the end.”

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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