Project 3: "Bridging" the Gap

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Betty Turpin, Vice Principal/Classroom Teacher

Wayne Hussey

School: St. Michael's School
P.O. Box 280
Stephenville Crossing, Newfoundland
A0N 2C0
Telephone: 709-646-2822
Fax: 709-646-5263
Grade Level: Grade 7
Number of Students
40 - 46
Project Start and
Finish Dates:
September, 1997 - June, 1998

  Project Overview

Students will use the Internet to contact other sources (inside Canada and out) concerning Bridge Structures.

The following information should be gathered on the bridges:

  1. Date built and location.
  2. Type (i.e., cantilever, arch, suspension, etc.)
  3. A diagram or schematic with dimensions.
  4. Materials used.
  5. Maximum load potential.

Besides bringing the "bridge" topic out of the classroom and textbook we get the opportunity of contacting other places and comparing bridges built in other countries with our own. Students gain knowledge as to why certain bridges are built in certain places. The investigation of bridges will center on why these structures have a certain design and require certain materials with specific properties that are able to withstand the structural force of the bridge.

  Curriculum Connections

The main curriculum area addressed is Science. However, when you are discussing dimensions and load bearing abilities, you are investigating Math concepts, using a practical application.

  Learning Outcomes

The Intended Learning Outcomes of this project relate to the provincial learning outcomes of this Science unit.

The outcomes of investigating the approaches to the design of bridges are:

  1. Identify several common types of bridges.
  2. Describe some of the structural elements which occur regularly in the design of the more commonly type of bridges.
  3. Label all the parts on a bridge which give it strength and support.
  4. Predict where compression, tension, and sheer forces may occur on a bridge.
  5. Design, build and test a model bridge using simple materials.

At this grade level for this unit on Structure and Design, the main program emphasis is on the link between Science and Technology. The technology link is addressed when scientific concept learning is integrated with technological problem solving to develop an understanding of the technical features of well-designed structures.

  Resource Connections

This unit of study requires practical application of the concepts involved in Function and Design of structures. With the use of the World Wide Web, students are able to contact sites directly related to architectural design of bridges. This can only enhance their interest in learning about structures and the complex steps that lead to their construction.


Through the Intended Learning Outcomes, the follow-up evaluation will be a student designing, building and testing a model bridge using simple materials. When all bridges are collected, students will note where compressive, tensile and sheer forces occur on each bridge. Students identify where their supports are and finally compare the various types of bridges in terms of rated capacity, cost, appearance, etc.

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