Lesson 1

To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges

Bridges Storybook / Grade 2 / Arlington, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges, L1

A storybook introduces the engineering challenge and context. In this story, Javier, a boy from Texas, learns about civil engineering as he designs his own bridge.


Reflection Questions

What strategies do you see Ann using to introduce key ideas from the storybook before she begins reading?

Ann activates students' prior knowledge by asking about storybook topics and also has students analyze the first illustration in the book.

  • First, Ann introduces the main character and field of engineering (civil) focused on in the book. She asks students about why bridges are important and where they are used. Students bring up their personal experiences with bridges (riding their bikes over them and seeing a bridge at the local Boys and Girls Club). (0:56)
  • Ann has students look at the first illustration in the storybook and comment on whether they think the bridge is a "good bridge." Students notice that it doesn’t look stable, which sets them up well for the engineering challenge in the unit. (1:50)


Ann chose to complete the Engineering Design Process worksheet as a whole class. In what ways do you notice Ann reinforcing the steps of the EDP with students as they complete the worksheet?

When the answer is not immediately apparent to the group, Ann does not give them the answer but instead guides them to parts of the storybook where they can find the answer for themselves. 

  • Ann asks about the “Ask” step in a few different ways (“What did he ask about the bridge? What did he ask his cousins?”). Then when a student answers she rephrases the response back to him and models recording of the answer. (8:30)
  • When students have difficulty coming up with examples for the Imagine step, Ann guides them to look back at the text.  (9:20)
  • At the same time Ann is recording student answers on the transparency, students are also recording answers on their own versions of the worksheet. (11:00)