Maddy – Bridge Building Club Member

Year 6 pupil Maddy lives and studies in Sidcup, where she attends Benedict House Primary School and is a keen member of the 12-week after-school Bridge Building Club. Here she tells us about her enthusiasm for bridges and civil engineering.

I’ve taken part in Bridge Building Club a few years running. I wanted to get involved again because it’s fun to learn about bridges – they’re such amazing things, the way they take you over obstacles.

Since joining the club I notice bridges a lot more when I’m out and about ­– they are everywhere!

The thing I love about the club is learning about these amazing creations. They’re so different and it’s cool the way they are made. It’s also just good to find out why they are there.

Some of the things I’ve learnt in the club include what a truss bridge is and the different ways they are made. We’ve also studied beam bridges and suspension bridges and today I built an arch bridge. Arch bridges are made up of voussoirs, with a keystone at the top.

My favourites are the truss bridges. I love that they have triangles and are all different shapes. The triangle supports make the bridge stronger: squares would collapse on themselves but triangles have three sides and hold their shape better.

Taking part in the club means I got to join in an annual Bridge Building Day at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham. This included building our own bridges in a competition – I enjoyed seeing how all the other children built their bridges.

For the competition we had one hour to design and build our bridge from lollypop sticks, elastic bands, string, cardboard and other items. We folded our corrugated cardboard along the lines to make it stronger.

This year we won. I think this is because of the engineering principles we put into our bridge.

When I grow up I would like to be a civil engineer – Mrs Threader has inspired me.

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