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Community Impact

Dec 01, 2018

Family Design Day: Boston Bridges

FDD Bridges web

Images courtesy of Anthony Crisafulli

Children use the design process to create bridges

This month at BSA Space, 50 students between the ages of four and 13 discovered the crucial role that engineering plays in creating our cityís infrastructure. BSA Foundation staff kicked off the Family Design Day session by giving participants an overview of important considerations for bridge design. Citing factors such as materiality, shape, and strength, students were introduced to less obvious elements, including knowing the environment just above and just below the structure.

Participants were encouraged to work together to create bridges with their bodies, which allowed them to experience the forces of tension and compression. Then, students were asked to use a variety of materials to create their own bridges over Fort Point Channel with the assistance of Foundation volunteers, which they then presented before the group.

Stewart Kristiansen (age 13)óa past Family Design Day attendee and Foundation internóacted as guest critic and peer reviewer, and encouraged these young engineers to make their presentations using some of the vocabulary they had learned earlier in the day. One very important goal? No wobble!

BSA Foundation youth programs engage children and their families in hands-on activities that incorporate aspects of the design process to provide alternate tools for analyzing and solving problems, encourage collaboration, and inspire new ways to think about improving their own communities.