K-12 Outreach

Evolution of a Bridge Builder Outreach Activity

  • Suzette R. Burckhard (South Dakota State University)
  • Zach Gutzmer (South Dakota State University)


Many engineering outreach programs use building a bridge as a hands-on activity for multiple grade levels and audiences. South Dakota State University has used a bridge building activity, with slight modifications for grade level and time allowed, for over 10 years in outreach at schools and campus workshops. In recent years, it has been noted that the same level of students attending these outreach events are either performing the same or a similar activity at their school or another event outside of our outreach program which has adversely affected using this activity to stimulate interest in engineering. In the last two years, modifications have been made to create a bridge builder challenge that incorporates measurement, experimentation, simulation, design, and redesign for middle and high school students. Incorporation of design standards and performance as well as economic efficiency has been the key to linking science principles to engineering principles. Details of the activity and its implementation are discussed.

How to Cite:

Burckhard, S. R. & Gutzmer, Z., (2014) “Evolution of a Bridge Builder Outreach Activity”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-8. doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/aseenmw2014.1031

Rights: Copyright © 2014 Suzette R. Burckhard and Zach Gutzmer

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed