Fourth and fifth-grade students work as structural engineers in latest design challenge


Posted: November 8, 2018

Teams of Newport News fourth and fifth-grade students worked together to design and build portable floating bridges at the latest Engineering Design Challenge. The design challenge, named River Rescue, presented with Endview Plantation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, blended history, engineering and math into one unique learning experience. Students from Heritage High School's Governor's STEM Academy served as STEM mentors for the student engineers.

Students began by building background information through an interactive reader's theater to answer the question: How did engineering impact America's Civil War? A video then provided the teams a look into the current-day work of a military engineer. Applying their new background knowledge, teams were tasked with building a portable bridge that would float and support as much weight as possible.

The teams were judged on how much weight their bridge could hold while remaining afloat. Saunders Elementary placed third, B.C. Charles Elementary placed second, and Greenwood Elementary School earned first place and a trophy to display in their school. The Design Challenge is part of the school district's ongoing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education initiative.

Teams from Saunders, B.C. Charles and Greenwood elementary schools pose with representatives from Endview Plantation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Teams from Saunders, B.C. Charles and Greenwood elementary schools pose with representatives from Endview Plantation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.