Unit Overview

Students use their understanding of landforms to engineer a bridge foundation in the best possible location.

  • Grades 1–5 (Designed for grades 3–5; includes modifications for grades 1–2.)
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Landforms, erosion
  • 5 lessons (8–9 class sessions)

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Students are introduced to the concepts of engineering and technology. (30–40 min.)
The class reads a storybook in which a boy named Suman living in Nepal explores the field of Geotechnical Engineering in order to convince his father to build a bridge in the best possible location. (90–120 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students carry out investigations to observe how soil layers affect the stability of structures. (60–70 min.)
Students evaluate how compaction of soil and riverbank erosion might affect the strength of a bridge foundation. (100–110 min., 2 sessions)
Students follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to imagine, plan, create, test, and then improve a site for their own bridge foundation. (110–120 min., 2 sessions)

Sample How-to Video

Sample Classroom Video

What's Included?

  • Teacher Guide (PDF)
  • Illustrated Story (PDF)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources