Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Building Bridges

Subject Area





ReadWorks Digital provides free reading resources on many different topics. In this learning activity, students will read about different bridges around the world to compare and contrast materials used. Students will then use one material to create three different bridges based off of the bridges they read about in the text. 

This learning activity was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): 2


    Demonstrate and explain how structures made from small pieces (e.g., linking cubes, blocks, building bricks, creative construction toys) can be disassembled and then rearranged to make new and different structures.

    Unpacked Content



    • Demonstrate
    • Explain
    • Structure
    • Pieces
    • Disassemble
    • Rearrange
    • Different


    Students know:
    • Different properties are suited for different purposes.
    • A great variety of objects can be built up from a small set of pieces.
    • Structures can be disassembled and rearranged into new and different structures.


    Students are able to:
    • Disassemble a structure into small pieces.
    • Assemble a new structure using the same small pieces.
    • Provide a written and/or oral explanation that correlates with a demonstration detailing the characteristics of the new object or objects.


    Students understand that:
    • Structures may be broken into smaller pieces and a new structure, that is different in size or shape, can be formed from the same pieces.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Energy and Matter


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    The learner will understand that people use similar materials to build different kinds of bridges. 

    Students will create three different bridges using the same materials. 

    Activity Details

    1. Students will work in groups of six. Each student reads one of the passages. The student then shares about the certain bridge they read about to the rest of the group. Article-A-Day Set "Bridges" from ReadWorks Digital

    2. Have students create a replica of 3 of the six bridges they read about in the articles using the pictures from the articles as a plan.

    3. Students use materials given by the teacher. The teacher can use any material available in the classroom. Some materials suggested are popsicle sticks, Magna-Tiles, or linking cubes (math cubes). 

    4. The teachers will explain to students they will build 3 bridges using the materials in front of them. The teacher will explain that the students must replicate the three bridges. The students will build one, then disassemble. They will do this until three bridges have been replicated. 

    5. Students complete an exit ticket. 

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will answer the following questions on an exit ticket. 

     1. What were some of the challenges you and your team faced recreating bridges using the materials given? 

    2. How did your structures change when building the different bridges? 

    3. Was one of the bridges easier to build with your materials and why? 

    4. How do you think engineers decide on the best materials for building bridges? 

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    1. ReadWorks Digital requires the teacher and students to create an account to view the articles online.

    2. Teachers first create a free account then create a class. Teachers will enter the first name and last initial of each student on the roster.

    3. To log students into account have students go to https://www.readworks.org/student-authentication?url=%2Fstudent. Students enter the class code given to the teacher by the website for their specific class.  

    4. Tell your students their default password set by the website. Students can change the password once they are logged in. 

    5. To assign the Article-A-Day set to students on bridges, the teacher will search "bridges" and then click on the "Bridges" Article-A-Day set. Next, click the "Assign" button and choose your assignment details and click Assign. 

    6. Students will then have assigned reading upon logging in to the website. 

    7. If computers are not available for all students, the teacher can print the articles for the students. 

    8. The teacher will need to gather the materials for students to build the bridges. Some ideas of materials to use are math connecting cubes, popsicle sticks and tape, pencils and tape, or rubber bands, Magna-Tiles, building blocks, Lincoln Logs, etc.

    Digital Tools / Resources