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Building Bridges to Literature

Concord Hymn rude bridge poemDesigning, building, and testing bridges can help students develop teamwork and problem-solving skills along with inspiring their interest in engineering. Such hands-on projects also can fuel an interest in reading about bridges. Here are some notable titles that might strike a chord with your budding civil and structural engineers.

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Paper Penny Bridge

stacks of penniesIn this activity, student teams in grades 8 and up learn about the engineering design process and physical forces by building a bridge from a single sheet of paper and up to five paper clips that will span 20 cm and support the weight of 100 pennies. Like real engineers, teams also have limited budgets and must make trade-offs in materials.

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Engineering Map of America

Trans-Alaska pipelineWhat do the Trans-Alaska pipeline, Brooklyn Bridge, and aviatrix Amelia Earhart have in common? They’re all featured on a new, interactive map of America’s greatest engineering feats and engineering-education milestones developed by PBS’s American Experience with organizations like the American Society for Engineering Education.

U.S. Geological Survey/photo of trans-Alaskan pipeline by Dave Houseknecht

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