Building bridges with bespoke resources

Around 170 Year 7 students demonstrated their engineering skills when they took part in a bridge building challenge.

The 12 and 13-year-olds from Northfleet Technology College participated in a series of lessons to teach them about loads, forces, materials and bridge structures culminating in the bridge challenge, specially prepared for them by the Rochester Bridge Trust.

Education Officer Caroline Chisholm explained: “Last year the college approached the Trust about the possibility of a grant to support their bridge building project. We reviewed the application, but it didn’t quite meet the criteria required to benefit from our grants scheme, so instead we offered to write a series of lessons that would. These were then tested out with the pupils and will be formally created as a Key Stage 3 resource to add to our ‘bookshelf’ offering of education materials.

“It was great to see the enthusiastic way the students took to the challenge and put into practice the topics they had been learning about. This is reassuring not only for their own learning – we are sure we met many future engineers during our visit – but also for confirming the potential of the latest addition to our free offering of education resources.”

The bridge building challenge required the pupils to split into groups to design and build model bridges. They had to have a span of 60cm and be able to hold at least 100g. The bridges also had to be free-standing.

Teacher Mrs Hall said: “We are grateful to the Rochester Bridge Trust for taking the time to create these lesson plans and run the bridge building challenge. The students really enjoyed this project, relishing the opportunity to transfer classroom learning to practical demonstrations. I really enjoyed seeing how well they took to the problem of designing and building their bridges and I look forward to running these activities in future years.”

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