After a long relaxing break away from Lesedi Outreach, Term 3 resumes and learning begins once more. Saturday 28 July being our first lesson back since the five week holiday, we decided to do something fun yet educational with the children to avoid becoming too monotonous.

Learning about bridges was the name of the game.  We began by simply explaining how different shapes can influence the strength of an object. It was the square versus the triangle.

We learnt that the angles in a triangle are fixed, therefore no matter what direction the force is coming from, it is equally distributed through the structure, whereas with a square, the force lays directly on the four sides of the structure, causing a weak middle.

With that we then explored some of the most famous bridges in the world.  We analysed each bridge’s strengths and weaknesses. We even took a deeper look at the Tacoma Bridge – a shocking tragedy in engineering history.

It was time to start building our own bridges. Using straws as apparatus, we began constructing bridge brilliance.  But it was at this point that chaos broke out. Straws were being cut into various lengths and sticky taped into random shapes.  First lesson learnt – always devise a plan of action before beginning any project.

When some order was introduced by HeronBridge student and outreach volunteer Alex, who managed to calculate the exact measurements needed to construct a practical bridge everything began to fall into place.

With great engineering whiz kid Peter Klein in our camp, we were well on our way to crafting a masterpiece.  It was such a pleasure seeing the children so excited about basic craft and working well as a team.

Although it feels like the volunteers may have walked away with more knowledge after this one, the experience was certainly worthwhile.

Engineering Our Own Bridges
Tagged on: