Engineering Design: Bridges

Students become civil engineers challenged to design, build and test bridges using the engineering design cycle. They'll learn about span, load, shapes, materials and more.

About the lab

  • Grades: 4-8
  • Capacity: 30 students
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: $150
  • Offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:15 and 11:45 a.m.

Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Constructing explanations

Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Cause and effect
  • Systems and system models

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

ETS 1: Engineering design

  • ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
  • ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

ETS 2: Links among engineering, technology, science and society

Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1, 3.3, 3.7, 3.10
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.7, 4.10
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.7, 5.10

Lab goals

Students will:

  • Recognize the application of scientific principles in everyday situations.
  • Use bridges as a tool to apply and understand scientific principles in a familiar real-world situation.
  • Become familiar with the basic tenets of structural design.
  • Become knowledgeable of the forces at play in construction projects through interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities.
  • Learn how different design elements play into the structural integrity of a bridge.
  • Be exposed to potential careers in engineering and construction.
  • Engage in hands-on lab activities.
  • Acquire and practice lab skills.
  • Design, build and test models bridges.
  • Be given a challenge and work as a team to complete the task of building a successful bridge.