Civil Engineering


In teams, students will act as civil engineers and build a segmental bridge model. Instead of building it out of concrete, which is messy and needs a few weeks to harden, they will use Styrofoam. Styrofoam is a weaker material than concrete, so instead of having to use special steel cables, a small diameter bungee cord will do.

Teacher Notes

Click here to download the teacher notes for Construction Management.


  • Build a model segmental bridge and test the model to understand some behavior attributes of segmental bridges such as deflection.

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea Student Action
ETS.HS.1C.a Criteria may need to be broken down into simpler ones that can be approached systematically, and decisions about the priority of certain criteria over others (trade-offs) may be needed. Students systematically test and analyze the success of various cord tensions and placement of load as they build segmental bridge models.

Common Core Standards

Common Core Standard Student Action
8.F.B.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally. Students create and analyze a graph displaying the results from the segmental bridge project.

Expected Lesson Duration

Lesson 1 - Introduction: 30 - 60 minutes

Lesson 2 - Projects: 150 - 180 minutes

Lesson 3 - Quiz: 30 - 60 minutes