Lesson Plan

Bridge Building

Students will build and test bridges.
Caroline G.
Classroom teacher
Sloan Creek Middle School
Fairview, United States
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My Grades 5, 6
My Subjects Science

Students will be able to...make a plan to build a bridge out of balsa wood. Students will evaluate bridge designs to build a bridge that can hold as much weight as possible. Students must also stay within a given budget and use their resources wisely.

Grades 5 – 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Tacoma-Narrows Bridge aka Gallopin' Gertie

Watch the video about the Tacoma Narrows bridge failure. Pause at different scenes and evaluate where the bridge failed and why.

Student Instructions

Use the video to discuss the implications of bridge failures and the impact of

2 Building Big - Bridges

The students will explore the Building Big site and participate in the Forces Lab. They will discuss with a partner the information that applies to building their bridge.

Student Instructions

Use the Building Big site to explore different types of bridges before drafting a plan. Work through the Forces Lab to understand the "why" behind the way you build.

3 Popsicle Company Needs a Bridge

Activity: Presenting

The Popsicle Company's bridge has washed out due to heavy flooding and wind. The students have to build a bridge to save the company from bankruptcy. Students will receive a packet of information about the build. The packet includes:

The Proposal
Cost List of Materials
Spending Limit
Bridge Proposal Worksheet
How to Make a Stable Bridge page
OSHA Fine page

Student Instructions

1. Gather instructions about making a bridge for the Popsicle Company.
2. Follow along as the packet is explained.
3. Ask questions
4. Get started