Building Bridges


Have you ever wondered about how bridges are designed and built? Have you ever wanted to travel to see bridges of all shapes and sizes? In this WebQuest, you will be exploring different bridges, what they are used for, and famous bridges that exist in the world today. Throughout this WebQuest, think about the bridges you have encountered in your local area or while traveling. Think about the following question as you complete this WebQuest: What would our lives be like if we didn't have bridges? You, along with 4-5 others, will have the opportunity to explore different websites and complete fun activities that will assist in your learning. Each member of the group will choose a different role. The Manager is responsible for keeping your group on task and making sure you are organized. The Recorder is responsible for writing down key information that you learn about bridges. Remember to write neatly and clearly! The Connector's job is to make connections between what you are learning and things that you have experienced in your own lives. And the Fact Checker is responsible for making sure that the information gathered by the group is accurate. Now that everyone has their roles, let's begin!

  • Upon completion of this WebQuest, students will be able to correctly identify different styles of bridges.

  • Upon completion of this WebQuest, students will be able to understand the basic mechanics of bridges that are commonly used.

  • After learning about the different styles of bridges, the mechanics of each, and which bridge works best with the surrounding area, students will be able to construct either a beam bridge, truss bridge, or an arch bridge out of toothpicks and marshmallows.

The students will go through the WebQuest, visiting each of the websites that were chosen to help them understand the mechanics of bridges and the different types of bridges. After they complete the WebQuest fully, they will be put into small groups to start their learning center activity. In the learning center, they will be creating one of the bridges that they learned about in the web quest (beam, truss, suspension, or arch) out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and be able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of each bridge type.


You will be using the following websites and activities to build your knowledge about bridges to learn their importance.

Step 1. In your groups, assign each member a role that they would like to assume. It is up to you to decide what role would best suit you. 

Step 2. You will use the following resources to learn about the history of bridges, how they work, how much they can hold, and different types. Jot down any notes that you think are interesting or are important to the topic. Remember to think about the big question: What would our life be like without bridges? 

Step 3. On these websites, you can play games to see how bridges work and also look at visuals of bridges:  

Step 4. In your groups, talk about the different bridges that you have seen or been on. What did they look like? Draw a picture of a bridge on a poster board. 

Step 5. Next, using the notes you have taken from the previous websites and books, compare and contrast the lengths of different bridges and their infrastructure. 

Step 6. For your final activity, you will create your own bridge! Using toothpicks and mini marshmallows your teams will build beam bridges, truss bridges, and or/arch bridges. Remember to be creative, work together, and most of all, have fun! 




Group Participation and Cooperation

Beginning (0 Points): Students did not complete work and did not cooperate with group members. 

Developing (1 Point): Students completed some work and did not cooperate with group members for a majority of the time

Very Good (2 Points): Students completed a majority of the work and cooperated with group members almost the entire time. 

Exemplary (3 Points): Students completed all work and cooperated with group members the entire time


Compare and Contrast Activity

Beginning (0 Points): Students did not identify any similarities or differences between famous infrastructures with more than 4 grammatical errors

Developing (1 Point): Students only identified 1 similarity and difference between famous infrastructures with 2-3 grammatical errors

Very Good (2 Points): Students identified 2-3 similarities and differences between famous infrastructures with 1 grammatical error

Exemplary (3 Points): Students identified 4 or more similarities and differences between famous infrastructures with no grammatical errors


Build a Bridge Activity

Beginning (0 Points): Students did not work together to complete a bridge and were off task

Developing (1 Point): Students worked together for some of the time and were off task for a majority of the time 

Very Good (2 Points): Students worked together for a majority of the time to successfully build a bridge and were barely off task

Exemplary (3 Points): Students worked together the entire time to successfully build more than 1 bridge and were not off task



Congratulations! You have completed the WebQuest on bridges. Hopefully, this WebQuest helped answer the question: What would our world be like if we didn’t have bridges? Bridges are an important part of our society as they can help us transport things or just ourselves across water, large gaps, or any other hazards we may want to avoid. There are a number of types of bridges that can prove to be useful for all different sorts of scenarios and situations. Without bridges, it would be much harder to get around to different places! We hope you had fun and learned a lot about bridges during this learning journey!


Non-online Resources

Adkins, J. (2002). Bridges: From my side to yours. Brookfield, CT: Roaring Brook Press.

Bunting, E., & Payne, C. F. (2006). Pops bridge. Orlando: Harcourt.

Cornille, D., & Broad, Y. S. (2016). Bridges: An introduction to ten great bridges and their architects. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Johmann, C. A., Rieth, E. J., & Kline, M. (1999). Bridges! Amazing structures to design, build & test. Charlotte: Williamson.


Web Resources

Teacher Page

This WebQuest was created for students in grades 1 to 2. The goal was to have students build their knowledge about bridges and how they are built. This will help students learn to work collaboratively and to also delegate the work. This would be a great tool to use for a unit on geometry or engineering. 


Standard 3.4.3.C2: Explain why the design process requires creativity and consideration of all ideas.

Standard 3.4.3.C1: Recognize design is a creative process and everyone can design solutions to problems.


Advice for teachers

  • Make sure students stay on task during the WebQuest
  • Have students stick to their chosen group roles
  • Go over the directions as a whole class before beginning
  • Make sure students ask questions during the whole process