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Exploring Structures – Bridge Builders

Grade Level: Middle School
Discipline: Science
Language: English
School Board: Buffalo Trail Public Schools


In this Grade 7 Science unit, students were given the opportunity to explore the discipline of engineering.  The students’ task was to use their knowledge and understanding of engineering principles to construct a bridge which could be used to replace the current bridge North of Vermilion on Pare Drive. In groups, students designed their own bridges using concepts obtained from mini-lessons on structures and forces. Students created to-scale plans of their bridges on white board tables where they could easily show their learning to their peers and their teacher for feedback. Once a plan was agreed upon, students created 3D versions of their bridges using the online 3D design program called Tinkercad. An engineer was invited  to give students feedback on their first designs.  Students then created their final 3D version of their bridge and printed it using 3D printers. Finally, students made hypotheses about the strength of their bridge predicting any weak spots which might break under the strain of a force and tested their hypotheses.