Structures are all around us. When we see a red bus or a telephone box, we think of London, huge skyscrapers, we think of New York, and opera houses, we think of Sydney.
Bridges too are everywhere, even here at school; over roads, over rivers, canals, spanning estuaries and joining islands to the mainland. They link communities and sometimes span great distances. The current largest bridge is the Danyang-Kinshan Grand Bridge in China that runs for 102.4 miles. That’s roughly the distance from London to Calais in France.
Engineers are challenged to make structures which are strong, light and efficient. Using the materials provided, design and construct your own bridge over a river, that will allow an object to cross it without getting wet.
This was the task given to the Year 4 boys last week, during their STEAM day. They had to focus on creating their own structure, while also maintaining the important school values of collaboration, perseverance and resilience.
The boys began by considering a variety of design ideas before beginning to build their structures with recyclable materials. Over the course of the day, it was a pleasure to observe them adapting their designs and deal with a variety of challenges to ensure that their bridges met the various requirements.
As a finale, the boys then tested their bridges by placing a variety of weights on top, to see how structurally sound they were, in addition to be awarded an overall score based on aesthetics and design.
The pupils were then asked to reflect on their day, to consider what they had done and how they might have changed if they were to repeat it again.
Some of the boys said:
"It was a difficult task because in school you would be challenged with maths and word problems whereas today you were challenged in a different way, a way that we are not used to. It was more like a problem we would face in life. We faced lots of problems today and to solve them we had to work as a group. It was a great learning experience."
"My favourite part of the day was the design collaboration, mainly because I liked the way everyone had to think about what they were going to do and came up with different ideas of how to use their materials."
"We got to work together and get to know people I haven't worked with before. It was my favourite part because I found out how well we worked together. I really enjoyed it."