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Bridge To School

28 May 2015

Children of Holy Trinity School, Cookham, Berkshire, worked with Costain engineers to construct a fully functioning cable-stayed bridge recently.

The bridge which measured over 15m long and nearly 3m tall was constructed in the school hall, requiring the children to use their team working and problem solving skills. 28 children were split into two teams working on each side of the bridge with the objective to meet in the middle to install the final deck component. Once all of the parts were in place the children adjusted the cable tension and tested their bridge by walking along it.

Safe delivery was the number one objective for activity. The children were briefed before they started work and were issued with sets of personal protective equipment by their group project managers.

The children were from year 4 and have been recently studying Brunel and bridges during the academic term and were offered the opportunity of a bridge building masterclass by Corporate Development Director, Tim Bowen. Speaking of the event Tim said “A request from the school came in asking if we could help with an engineering activity. By making use of our close relationship with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), we were delighted to be able to visit the school with such a fantastic resource. The children really impressed with a relatively good knowledge of civil engineering and approached the challenge with enthusiasm, but working safely. I am sure that we have ignited their interest in our profession and hope that some will progress to being fully qualified engineers in the future.”

As well as the practical task Ros Parker, Chartered Engineer, delivered a lesson to the class about what Civil Engineering is and why the children rely on it every day.

Miss Heath, the class teacher, said: “It was a fantastic hands-on learning experience for the children. Not only did they develop their problem solving skills, they also learnt the true meaning of teamwork. Many of the children now show a keen interest in civil engineering and the possible mark they could leave on the world through pursuing this as a future career.”

The bridge has been developed by the ICE to help inspire future generations of engineers and has been used by Costain at many schools around the UK. To deliver the activity a team of five were involved, including Tim and Ros; James York (Corporate Responsibility Manager), Oliver Teall (Engineer) and Tony Smith (Community Relations Manager).





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