Bridges to Higher Learning

Bridges to Higher Learning photo

Third-grade students at Idle Hour Elementary School recently took part in the STEM-oriented “Bridging the Gap” activity, working alongside one another to become architects and engineers for the afternoon as they built their own bridges and support structures.

Prior to their building session, the students were introduced to the history of bridges during a presentation by a representative of the Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson. During this information session, the students were made aware of the different building materials which go into the creation of a bridge, including steel, stone and concrete. Additionally, they were able to compare differences in structure between bridges, noticing the inclusion of cables on some and the size of the guard rails on others. 

The young engineers then put their newly acquired knowledge to the test in an activity which asked them to use index cards to support the weight of 25 small toy bears. They worked collaboratively to construct creative support systems, ultimately arriving at unique designs which were successful in holding the weight of the bears.

Additionally, the students constructed “bridges,” with the goal in mind of allowing toy cars to cross successfully, keeping in mind the width of their bridge, the weight of the vehicle and the number of index cards necessary toward building the perfect bridge.