Building Bridges
An Internet WebQuest on The Study of Bridges

Teacher Page

| Main Page | Student Page | Roles & Resources |

"Construction technology is the study of the efficient practice of using production and management processes to transform materials and assemble components into buildings, and heavy industrial and civil structures that are built on site" Wescott and Henak, eds. (1994)



Students should understand that bridges are structures that surround us, in our world and in our language. Quotes are familiar to all such as: "Bridges to tomorrow" or "Bridges to discovery" and "Don't burn any bridges behind you."
building. Students will explore bridges throughout the world, types of bridges, the mathematics of bridge building, and
how to construct a bridge.

This WebQuest, geared for middle school students (sixth grade specifically), attempts to explore information about bridges. Using cooperative groups to present and defend their own creative bridge construction. The entire class will be able to understand the complexity of bridges, an everyday experience taken for granted by most. By dividing into class into cooperative groups of 2-3 students, the class will be able to work together to tackle the concepts of bridge building. The Internet will provide all the resources that the students will need to explore this topic.

Content Area and Grade

This WebQuest was originally designed for sixth graders in a middle school science classroom, but can be adapted to any middle or high school level. There are links provided to enable a teacher to pick and choose whichever direction than needs to be taken to address the level of the student and the focus of the class.


The Quest

Several concepts (overlapping subject areas) will be presented during this WebQuest:


Curriculum Standards

Sixth to eighth grade science and math standards and links can be drawn from the Tennessee Curriculum Framework.


Learning Expectations:

Through the investigation of meaningful problems, individually or in cooperative groups while using appropriate technology, all students in grades 6-8, building upon K-5 expectations, will be able to:

See also the National Science Standards


The Process and Resources Needed

Your job as the teacher in this WebQuest is to lead the classroom teams through fun, exploration, learning, and discovery of bridges and bridge construction. Each group will complete the tasks and learn about bridges by fulfilling a particular role and meeting certain responsibilities. The teacher sites provided will provide still more information, direction, and lesson plans that will enable you to facilitate this project successfully. The process can be viewed on the student page.

You'll begin by ensuring that everyone gains background information bridges. You will become knowledgeable on the subject, read the provided materials carefully, motivate students, and study available links in order to plan effectively to assist teams of students to eventually build their own bridge.


Teacher Resources for the Bridge Project

File Card Bridges How Many Pennies Will Your Bridge Hold

Newtons Apple

1st-8th Grade Bridges

A Wonderful Bridge Resource

Nova - Building a Bridge

Good Resource Questions

Why build bridges and what do they cost our nation

Building Bridges Lesson Plan

Free software for a bridge building program

Internet Bridge Scavenger Hunt

Building Bridges Lesson Plan

Strength and Weakness of Materials

Bridges to Math

Guidelines for Bridge Building

Straw Bridges

Spagetti Bridge


Evaluation and Assessment

The bridges will be tested for strength and endurance. There is a rubric for understanding how the grade will be achieved. Please study the rubric and adapt to your situation and classroom. All students should also be able to answer and discuss the following questions:



Questions for the individual groups:

1.How did you come up with the initial design for your bridge?
2.Did your design change as you built your bridge?
3.Which geometric shapes did you use in your bridge? Why?
4.How does the strength of the bridge compare to the weight of the bridge?
5.Would you make any changes in the design of your bridge?

For the large group:

Questions for the whole group:

1.Which bridge was the longest? Tallest? Strongest? Heaviest? Why?
2.What materials do you envision being used in future bridges?
3.How can computers help design bridges?