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Bridge Builders

Build bridges and friendships! Plan and construct a bridge with this constructive lesson that’s inspired by a Maya Angelou book set in Paris.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research bridges around the world and in their neighborhood. Look for the Parisian architecture (and friendship overtures) shown in Reneé Marie of France, for example. Identify oblique, arch, suspension, cable, and covered bridges. Locate them on maps.
    2. Make half a bridge. With Crayola Markers, students sketch one side of a bridge that includes a representation of or sign about: a. a fear to overcome b. a favorite activity c. a favorite person or possession d. something disliked.
    3. After completing the sketch, students use Crayola Model Magic and drinking straws (cut them with Crayola Scissors)to construct the bridge half. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack sticks to itself.
    4. Students collaborate with a classmate to figure out how to connect the space between the bridge halves. Sketch the span first, erasing to make any needed changes. Be inventive and include one common bond with a partner.
    5. Create the completed bridge span. Place the construction on cardboard for stability. Cut posterboard sections or signs and decorate them with markers. Place them on the bridge. Air-dry the bridge overnight.
    6. Students explain to their classmates each other’s bridge section and the common bonds they discovered during the construction.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts or relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    In small groups, students investigate bridge types and find photographs of specific bridge types around the world. Using Crayola Colored Pencils, students sketch and label bridges. Summarize a history of the bridge sketched, including where it is found, what purpose it serves (transportation, connecting waterways, etc.). Display sketches and written summaries in the classroom.

    In lieu of sketches, students build 3-D models of chosen bridges using Crayola Model Magic and recycled materials. A written summary of the bridge should accompany the model.

    Who is "Galloping Gertie"? Students research this bridge disaster and report on the event as a local investigative reporter. Photographs, sketches, and video should accompany the reporter's discussion of the event.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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