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Engaging communities + Inspiring vision

Family Design Day: Boston Bridges

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 city’s 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)—a past Family Design Day attendee and Foundation intern—acted 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.

Images courtesy of Anthony Crisafulli.

View images below from Family Design Day. View more images on Facebook.

To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. On the tour, board members and volunteers will tell stories about how Foundation programs, and the power of design, are positively changing the lives of real people. Meet the BSA Foundation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.