Unit Overview

Students use their understanding of forces to engineer strong and stable bridges.

  • Grades 1–5 (Designed for grades 1–2; includes modifications for grades 3–5.)
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Forces and motion, balance, stability
  • 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 explore the concepts of engineering and technology. (30–40 min.)
The class reads a storybook in which a boy named Javier living in Texas explores the field of Civil Engineering in order to build a stronger bridge to his backyard fort. (90–120 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students carry out investigations to observe how forces affect the stability and function of structures. (55–60 min.)
Students create models of three bridge structures and collect data to determine the properties of each. (95–110 min., 2 sessions)
Students follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to imagine, plan, create, test, and then improve their own bridge designs. (100–120 min., 2 sessions)

Sample How-to Video

Sample Classroom Video

What's Included?

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