Engineers from the City of Santa Clarita have been collaborating with local Santa Clarita Elementary School West Creek Academy to inspire fourth graders to get excited about engineering. The project is a hands-on Popsicle bridge building challenge called the “Bridge Design Challenge.”
The activity is offered as part of the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Pathway Program’s Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) curriculum. Teachers work with students to discuss the principles of basic bridge design and later challenge students to work in teams to apply their knowledge of balance, forces and civil engineering as they build their own bridges while meeting competition design guidelines and rules.
The bridges are put to the test on “Bridge Breaking” day, which for the last six years, City engineers from the City’s Building and Safety division have served as judges. Student bridges are tested by being balanced between tables and loaded with books. City engineers also use this day to share information about what engineers do in a way that is fun, interesting and participative.
“Our outreach efforts are intended to show kids the value of a future career in engineering, architecture, or construction…and why it may be worth considering as they grow and prepare for college,” said City of Santa Clarita Building official, Ruben Barrera. Ultimately, the plan is to make the Bridge Design Challenge a wider competition amongst multiple schools.
For more information on the City’s involvement in the Bridge Design Challenge, please contact David Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.