Building bridges

As an example of an interesting link for Learning Outside the Classroom, here are some photographs from a recent half day event with a Year 6 class. Their topic was the Second World War and they wanted to do some Design Technology to go with this.

The armies used tanks in the battlefields during WW2 but needed to enable them to cross rivers to advance and the bridges were often demolished to stop them. Building portable bridges which would have to be transported and built quickly was carried out by army engineers. Alongside making the bridges the students were introduced to an exciting computer programme. Westpoint Military Academy in the USA has produced an excellent FREE piece of software which supports their annual Bridge Building competition. This software is brilliant for getting pupils to think about various aspects of design, simulations, forces and data analysis. Suitable for Y6 upwards.

What I like is the fact that the students can download the software at home then work on designs independently and share their findings back in class. Can get very competetive!


We used a large remote control truck as the object to test the bridges with as we couldn't find any small tanks!!

The students worked in teams of 4-5 to design and build their own bridges. To make it a little more difficult we charged them for materials so they had to deal with the engineering, budgeting and the collaboration.

Here are some pictures from the day.






Shirehampton Primary school are participating in the Seeds for Change Project in collaboration with the University of Bristol and Arnolfini. In order to make best use of a piece of ground in need of development, Best Education drew up plans to create a series of planters and benches. The planters were to be themed as boats to fit in with the idea of ships and ballast.  Students from the University will be working as volunteers to help the children in Year 4 plant grow their own ballast gardens. Below are some pictures showing various stages of the process.



Weeds and old planters                                                        Weed control and first boat appear


  Boat two in preparation                                                        Boat two in place 


 Boat three ready                                                                 Add some slate for water effect

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