Lesson 2

To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges

Pushes and Pulls / Grade 2 / Derry, NH

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges, L2

Students think like civil engineers as they observe how forces affect structures and implement engineering solutions to balance forces and prevent structural failure.

Reflection Questions

What do you notice about the way Steve introduces the concept of “force” to his students?

Steve first introduces the term in the context of the storybook, providing the concrete example of weight on a bridge. Then he has students interact with a force themselves and make predictions about how forces will affect a model structure.

  • Steve first uses the bridge in the storybook as an example of force, and then he has students identify Javier’s sister’s weight as a push or a pull on the bridge. (1:06 and 1:32)
  • Next, Steve asks students to think about the things that push or pull on their own school building. (1:45)
  • To help students actually feel pushes and pulls and identify them, Steve challenges them to make index card stand up with one finger. (2:29 and 3:38)
  • Based on these shared experiences, Steve’s students have enough understanding to be able to predict what will happen when force is applied to a model structure. (4:26) 

How does Steve keep his students engaged and involved during whole-group instruction?

Steve uses of a variety of classroom to keep his students interested.

  • When asking about what happened to the bridge, Steve gestures and all his students respond in unison, “It broke!”  (0:55)
  • Steve has the students turn and talk with their groups about the different forces that are acting on the one-story structure. (4:38)
  • After the model structure collapses, Steve invites one of his students to come up and modify the structure to make it stronger. (6:48)