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.






Fabulous training session at St Josephs with a keen staff team.The day was centered around using Learning Outside the Classroom with a Design Technology focus. 

Rocket testing


 "Fun, active varied"

"Direct,interesting and clear"





 Comments from staff about the day

"Lovely to have atraining day without PowerPoint. Pacey delivery without feeling rushed. Didn't feel any time was wasted as always learning/doing something.Enjoyed the fact we didn't just 'sit'."

"Lots of practical ideas that could be implemented across any age of the school showing progression"

"Really pacey.Enjoyed not spending the day following handouts! Hands on approach was great - as was the competetive element"

"Well organised. Good to have an opportunity to give ideas and have them considered,even when not your specialism. Useful and thought provoking"

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