Civil Engineering: The Design and Building of Public Works, Bridges, Roads, Harbors, and More!

By Hummell, Laura J. | Children's Technology and Engineering, May 2011 | Go to article overview

Civil Engineering: The Design and Building of Public Works, Bridges, Roads, Harbors, and More!


Hummell, Laura J., Children's Technology and Engineering


Engineering is Elementary Team (author), Martin, J. (illustrator). (2005). Javier Builds a Bridge. Boston, MA: Museum of Science. ISBN: 1-933758-01-5

summary

When Javier's family changes and he gains a new stepsister, Luisa, life becomes more complicated. Having Luisa follow him around all the time makes Javier's life difficult. To add to the situation, Luisa falls off the rickety bridge leading to Javier's fort. After they both end up in the water, Javier's mother tells him to take the existing bridge down. Rather than give up his bridge and fort, Javier sets out to design and build a safer, more stable bridge.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

student introduction

A civil engineer is a person who is educated in the design, construction, and implementation of public works such as bridges, harbors, and roads. Can you think of any bridges or roads you used today? Javier learns how to become an amateur civil engineer when he decides to build a better, safer bridge to his fort. Let's learn about civil engineering and Javier's solution to his bridge problems.

design brief

Suggested Grade Levels 2-4, Ages 8-10

After reading the story with your class, talk about the problem-solving process and why Javier had to build a better bridge. Demonstrate how he used the problem-solving and engineering-design processes effectively. Have the students draw different types of bridges they would like to build. Discuss the different types of bridges with which your students are familiar. Show photographs of bridges in your area or famous bridges and have the students discover and write down similarities and differences between the chosen types. These activities can be done as a whole class or in smaller teams.

teacher hints and background information

"Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like bridges, roads, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is the oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it was defined to distinguish nonmilitary engineering from military engineering. It is traditionally broken into several subdisciplines including environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering. …

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