Skip to main content

Atwater Senior Academy

Mobile Menu Toggle


Engineering is the planning, designing, construction, improvement, or management of structures, products, machines, processes, and systems.


In the Engineering unit students will learn about designing and constructing structures. Students will have an opportunity to go through the entire design process that is used to create just about every idea into something real. Students will learn about the forces (physics) that act upon bridges and what can be done to counter these forces. Next the students will start designing their bridge using rough sketches. Picking three rough sketches, the student will then refine their ideas and will produce three final sketches. The final sketches are larger and show more detail. Each student will then get an opportunity to test their designs on a computerized structural stress-testing program to see which design is the best. Upon completion of the computer simulation, the student will then complete a full scale drawing of their model bridge meeting the criteria set by the instructor. After that, the students will construct one model bridge using the final drawing of their choice, twenty feet of wood, and glue. At the end of the engineering project, all bridges will be put on the bridge-testing machine to see how efficient each bridge is. Prizes are given to the student for the most efficient bridge in the school.

The students will use reading material, vocabulary words, study questions, videos, hands-on activities, computers and computer hardware to complete this work unit.

The Engineering unit will offer students an opportunity to:

  • Learn about the different types of bridges and the forces and stresses that act upon them.
  • Understand the importance of truss design used in bridge construction.
  • Apply basic sketching, measuring, and drawing techniques.
  • Construct a scale model of a wooden truss bridge to given criteria.
  • Test the completed bridge for design strength and efficiency


ACTIVITY 1:– Students will find the definitions to various vocabulary words and the answers to multiple choice questions dealing with engineering and engineering principles, using their student notebook. CLICK HERE for STUDENT NOTEBOOK   

Students enter their answers to Activity #1(Click here) in the computer using Google Docs. The students will correctly save this document in My Drive.


ACTIVITY 2 – Students will create fifteen rough sketches of truss bridges designs using the knowledge they acquired completing Activity #1.

Click to see an example of Rough Sketches

Click to see a second example of Rough Sketches

Click to see a third example of Rough Sketches

Click to see a fourth example of Rough Sketches


ACTIVITY 3 – Students will pick three of the fifteen rough sketches and will begin to create three final sketches. The final sketches are larger and are beginning to show more details. A ruler must be used to complete these drawings. Draw only one bridge design per page. Every line must be double lined envisioning a piece of wood with two edges.

Click to see an example of a Final Sketch

Click to see a second example of a Final Sketch

Click to see a third example of a Final Sketch


ACTIVITY 4 - Each student will test their three final sketches on the bridge testing software MODEL SMART to see which truss design is the best.


ACTIVITY 5 - Students will start to construct their final drawing. The final drawing will be completed on the computer using the CAD program AutoSketch 8. The bridge must be drawn at full scale and must meet the criteria Mr. St. Onge has set forth.

Click to see the CRITERIA.  This is very important!!!!!!

Click to see an example of a Final Drawing:  Final 1   Final 2   Final 3   Final 4


ACTIVITY 7 - Students will be given twenty feet of wood and will begin constructing their model truss bridge

Click to see the construction process


Students will continue construction of their model truss bridge until the bridge is completed.  The bridge must include four (4) cross trusses, must meet the criteria, and must follow the final drawing.

Click for completed bridges;  Bridge 1   Bridge 2   Bridge 3   Bridge 4   Bridge 5   Bridge 6   Bridge 7   Bridge 8    Bridge 9   Bridge 10   Bridge 11


CLICK to see pictures of the bridge competition


CLICK to see videos of the 2021-2022 Bridge Competition



ACTIVITY 8 (Click here): - Students will complete the Engineering Study Guide (Click here).