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From time to time I will be posting stories by teachers about how bridges are brought into their classrooms. Spring in Portland Public Schools and in other districts means it’s time to study the big bridges across the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Our first contributor is Rochella Farnand, a third grade teacher at Chapman Elementary School in Northwest Portland. SWW

Third grade Chapman students have been building bridges for 15 years. We do the research, write a basic speech, and learn how to give presentations in school. We break up the topics into history, structure, and what the bridge is like today. Students complete different bridge tasks while we work with each bridge group. We show a PowerPoint of past projects and display boards to give students ideas for different materials. The speech is the only thing we actually give a grade on. The project and display board are visual aids that are required but since they're not graded it’s up to the parents to decide on how much or little they help. They have two months to finish these at home and a couple of weeks to practice the speech at home, adding more info if they want. As you can see from the variety of project, kids can pick something that they enjoy working with-whether it's Legos, paints, computer programs, edible baking, k'nex, mosaics, embroidery, print making, etc. Rochella Farnand, April 30, 2016

Broadway Bridge

Engineer’s Statement: First, we (me and my mom) took a plank of wood and painted it grey. Then we stuck red pipe cleaners and wove them together to make the truss. After that we made the columns (which were actually my old play blocks). Finally we made the origami and I made the sea. (A long process that included getting my fingers superglued together).

Tilikum Crossing

Engineer’s Statement: It is a quilt. The project cost $500 and that’s only for the fabric. It took about 5 hours. My grandma and I found a picture on the internet. We copied off of it a little bit. We sewed all the water together. We cut the sky to the right size so the water so the sky would fit together. We made the towers and stuffed them with gray fabric surrounding it. We made the deck. I used rope for the cables and connected to the deck. We then made Mt. Hood and added the MAX last.

Tilikum Crossing

Engineer’s Statement: I used Legos, hot glue, super glue, and string. It took about a month.

St. Johns Bridge

Engineer’s Statement: For the towers I got two straws with duck tape in the middle and painted it. The deck is made of interlaced paper clips.

St. Johns Bridge

Engineer’s Statement: I used wood, Jenga blocks, wire, green paint, black paint, cars and people.

Tilikum Crossing Engineer’s Statement: To arch it up I used tape under it and the cables also helped. I thought the mirrors would make a cool deck, like the reflection of the water.

St. Johns Bridge

Engineer’s Statement: I printed out a picture on the internet of a silhouette. I put tape around the edges so no paint would get on the edges! I traced the printed paper and then traced that on the painting. I traced it all with black paint really, really carefully! Then I painted the background and took the tape off and painted the edges and voila! There you have it ladies and gentlemen!


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