Bridge Building Competition

Mrs. Lawrence’s third graders tried their hand at being architectural engineers. A bridge building competition was held as part of the third grade’s Academic Olympics during Catholic Schools’ Week.  Students, in teams of four, brought in cardboard, Styrofoam, or other items (that would ordinarily be recycled) to build a bridge that had to be three feet long to span an opening of two feet. In addition to the length requirement, Mrs. Lawrence would drop two water bottles on the bridge at midpoint to test its strength.

Then, once it was determined the bridge was strong enough to be safe, a wind – up toy car was placed before the bridge’s ramp and let go. If the car was able to make it across to the other side, then a successful trip was declared! The car trip test was done from both sides of the bridge; after all, it was a two way street.

What a learning experience it was! All five bridges developed were strong enough and had adequate ramps for at least one trip across the bridge. Most bridges had a flawed entrance ramp on one side. Students clearly saw how structural problems could be fixed. What next? In March, the third graders will test their skills at building a tower that should be able to withstand an “earthquake” and Hurricane Lawrence!