Minds to Lead – Hands to Serve – Hearts to Love

Exploring the Power of STEAM: Building Bridges and Testing Their Strength

Intro to STEAM learned about different bridge designs and the impact of bridge creation on society last week. The students were then challenged to build the best bridge using popsicle sticks and dowel rods. Their designs were evaluated based on aesthetics, weight capacity, and cost efficiency. These criteria reflect modern design principles, which value both form and function. The students were encouraged to consider the long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of their designs and their structural integrity.

Criteria used to evaluate the bridge design:

      1) Aesthetics: The class voted on the best-looking design

      2) How much weight can the bridge hold without collapsing?

      3) How much weight can the bridge hold compared to the cost of the bridge?

The reasoning behind these criteria falls to our modern design principles. Aesthetics have been pushed forward in many design fields; the idea is that these monuments, such as bridges, will be around for many years to come and should be designed to be pleasing not only to our eye but also to match their environment. Bridge holding weight can be equated to the engineering of a design that goes in. A more structurally sound design should carry more weight. Mr. Hansknecht gave the students a small amount of supplies to begin their bridge and “charged” students for additional popsicle sticks, dowels, and rubber bands. When asked why he was charging the students, he responded:

“Cost is something that students do not always consider in building. When they go out into the real world, people won’t go through an infinite source of money, and so one must consider if it is possible to make a better bridge for less or maybe raise the cost but ensure that the bridge is efficient enough to last for a long time. Tradeoffs will always exist; a higher cost may not mean a better bridge.”

We cannot wait to see what else Intro to S.T.E.A.M creates this year!


ACHS encourage our students to go beyond S.T.E.M. (the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and into the S.T.E.A.M, a holistic education philosophy that also embraces the arts allowing for a depth of application and understanding.