Week 1

Session 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we build a bridge for the Boise River that is strong enough to resist earthquake forces?


  • What is a bridge and why do we need a bridge? (For today's session)


  • A presentation on functions of a bridge to the class. (Either individual oral or group presentation)

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Students will gather information on what a bridge is and what are its functions.


  • Students will take notes and make a presentation to the class.


10-15 minutes

1. A teacher/lead explains the overall Bridge project.

What is the Bridge project about?

Groups learn about earthquakes and how to design a strong and earthquake resistant bridge for the Boise River in Boise, ID.

Why? Because Idaho has several active earthquake zones.

How long is the project? Twice a week for eight weeks.

Who are you going to work with? In a small group of six peers and one teacher and one college student who is likely to become teacher in the future!

What is expected from you? You will work on a 8-week project with your peers and your teachers; you'll need to pull all your knowledge about earthquakes, bridges, and bridge design together with your math skills and more to build a bridge to compete with another two groups of students for the best bridge design at the end of the program!

Spring 2017 Competition

There will a prize for the winning team.

Let's look at some pictures from the previous competition!

Problem Solving Process

5 minutes

Here is a good time to introduce the Problem Solving Process to students. Briefly explains the diagram and let the students know that they will refer to this diagram frequently to guide them in problem solving and reflecting upon what they have done later on.

What is a bridge and why do we need it?

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (25 minutes)

A teacher asks “What do you notice about bridges in Boise? Do you see different kinds of bridges, or do they all look the same?” PAUSEs for responses. "Let's look at a very famous bridge!" Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. PAUSEs and asks “What are some questions you might have about bridges, perhaps like this one, and why do we use them?”

After the watching the video, a teacher asks “Why do various bridges look different from each other?” PAUSEs, allows the learners to share their ideas and offer suggestions. “What should a bridge be made out of and why?” PAUSEs for responses and compares learner opinions. “What do you think is the best kind of bridge?” Teacher shows the students that there are four major bridge types, which may be remembered using the acronym “ABCS”:





The teacher shows images of each type of bridge as they are named. Teacher explains that each of these bridge designs work differently. Students have the opportunity to explore each of the four bridge types and how they work. Students take note of the similarities and differences of the bridge types. In their groups, the learners are responsible for presenting their journal observations of one bridge type, as assigned by the teacher.

The teacher explains that bridge design and construction is a very important STEM topic, and that the students will be exploring the topic of bridges to learn more about the considerations in bridge engineering. To start their investigations, the learners are guided to work in teams to gain more knowledge about the different purposes, styles, and science of bridges in an open-ended inquiry task. The students will record their findings and will be asked to reflect on their research and share the most important facts learned with the whole class.

Here are questions students will research and seek answers to using the resources provided:

1. What is a bridge?

2. Why do we need bridges?



10-15 minutes

The teacher asks the students to present their research findings on what a bridge is and the functions of a bridge (Either individual oral or group presentation). All students’ ideas should be discussed by the whole group.

End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

  • What did I learn today?

  • What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?