Lesson 3
Part 1

To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges

Bridging Understanding (1) / Grade 2 / Arlington, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges, L3 Part 1

Students perform a controlled test of three types of bridges to see how much weight the bridges can support.

Reflection Questions

At the start of the lesson, Ann asks students what civil engineers need to think about before they start building something. Why is this an important way to start the lesson?

Posing this question allows students to generate their own list of important criteria and constraints to think about when designing their bridges. 

  • We see students listing ideas about structures they’ve gathered from the storybook and Lesson 2: what is holding up the bridge, is it sturdy, how much weight can it hold, etc. Guiding students to create this list helps Ann confirm that students have retained information and assess their thinking. (0:37)
  • The full list of ideas that students come up with results in a set of criteria that they can apply to their own bridge designs. This student-generated list will help students be invested in the testing and scoring process later on. (1:30)

How do you see Ann handling student findings about the strength of different bridge types after the investigation?

Ann relies on students sharing their observations and results about bridge strength, encouraging them to learn from their own findings from testing. 

  • When students suggest that the deep beam bridge is the strongest, Ann asks them to comment on why they think this was the case. They suggest that it was because of the folded accordion structure in the model bridge. (5:00)
  • During her interview, Ann explains she wanted students to see and experiment with the bridges and learn for themselves which was the strongest. She not only allowed them to make changes, but also validated what they saw after making those changes. “They had their own learning experience,” she notes. (6:27)