Learning About Bridges

Lions Langdon and Leonie are pleased to present their education kit – Learning about Bridges!

Learning about Bridges offers 12 chapters on the basics of bridge building, aimed at children aged 8-11 years (Key Stage 2). It is available to download as two complete books, or as a series of individual sessions with accompanying handouts.

Each session includes a range of activities that can be used individually or as part of a longer session for afterschool clubs and home-schooling as well as for classroom use. The sessions can be used individually or the whole kit can be used for a term long programme.

Send us feedback
Request hard copies

All Downloads

Volume 1

The complete first book, containing five chapters introducing bridges and key themes; beam bridges; truss bridges; arch bridges; and suspension bridges.

Volume 2

The complete second book, containing seven chapters about thinking like an engineer; loads and forces; enemies of bridges; bridge work; cable-stayed bridges; moving bridges; and cantilever bridges.

Individual chapters

Introductory chapter

An introduction to The Engineering Process, with Langdon the Lion or Leonie the Lion – take your pick!

Introductory chapter

An introduction to The Engineering Process, with Langdon the Lion.

Introductory chapter

An introduction to The Engineering Process, with Leonie the Lion.

Chapter Quick Links

Chapter A

Ai: Do we need Bridges?

Understanding what makes a bridge; why we need them; and why bridges are located where they are.

Aii: Loads and Forces

Learning about the forces that act in bridges; recognising tension and compression; and demonstrating the importance of balancing forces.

Aiii: Materials

What materials are used to build bridges? How can those materials be strengthened? And how does concrete work?

Aiv: Working with Water

Learning some of the techniques for building structures under water; and considering the challenges faced by civil engineers when designing bridges.

Chapter B

Bi: Beam Bridges – The First Bridge

What is a beam bridge and how did they first come about?

Bii: Beam Bridges – Simple but Strong

Apply previous learning of forces and loads to build and test a beam bridge. Discover the limitations of this structure.

Chapter C

C: Truss Bridges – What is a Truss?

Understanding the significance of triangles for bridge building; exploring the designs of truss bridges; and learning the terminology for the different variations.

Chapter D

Di: Arches – The Science of Arches

An introduction to the arch bridge and the dissipation of forces.

Dii: Arches – Ancient and Strong

Learning that centring was an important part of Roman arch building; and demonstrating understanding by building an arch bridge.

Chapter E

Ei: Suspension Bridges – Hanging Tough

Discover how transferring loads can make a bridge stronger; and an introduction to the suspension bridge.

Eii: Suspension Bridges – Tacoma Narrows Case Study

Find out what happens if a bridge doesn’t transfer loads well, and consider why the Tacoma Narrows Bridge failed.

Chapter: Interesting Bridges

Interesting Bridges

A selection of profiles introducing interesting bridges from around the world.

Chapter F

F: Thinking like an Engineer. Different roles in Civil Engineering

Learning the core thinking behind being an engineer; as well as developing and evaluating different engineering habits and skills.

Chapter G

G: More Loads and Forces

A more in-depth look at the forces that act in bridges and other structures.

Chapter H

Hi: Enemies of Bridges – The Environment

Learning about some of the environmental impacts that can affect bridges.

Hii: Enemies of Bridges – Humans

Recognising the impact of people on the bridges they use.

Chapter I

I: Bridge Work

Discover a range of real-life challenges faced by engineers working on bridges.

Chapter J

J: Cable-Stayed Bridges

An introduction to cable-stayed bridges; understanding the differences and similarities with other bridges; and learning how this type of construction can make very long bridges.

Chapter K

K: Moving Bridges

Learning about different types of moving bridge and how they can affect the things around them.

Chapter L

Li: Cantilever Bridges – Introduction

Discover cantilevers and learn to identify them; build a simple cantilever bridge.

Lii: Cantilever Bridges – The Tay Bridge Disaster

Applying an historical context to engineering and understanding how environmental factors can play their part.

Liii: Cantilever Bridges – Bridging the Forth

The historical engineering context for the Forth Bridge; and the advantages of cantilever bridges in certain contexts.


Volume 1

Key terms used in Learning About Bridges.

Volume 2

Key terms used in Learning About Bridges.

Further Resources

Further Resources

A selection of links and additional resources that can be helpful when learning about bridges.