Second grade students learned that civil engineers design and construct roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways.
I explained that they were going to use the Engineer Design Process to construct a bridge with just two pieces of copy paper! The bridge must hold a car and a boat should be able to pass under it. No tape was permitted. They failed and then improved their designs multiple times. Just about everyone tried a beam bridge first. Then, I brought these engineers back together and after looking at arch and truss designs, I then sent them back to work. Folding the paper (like a fan) to construct triangles (truss) proved to be the most effective way to successfully complete this task.
Click here to learn more about bridges.
We noticed that cardboard is supported with triangles too.