Friday, 28 July 2017

Year 6 Engineering; The Magic Triangle!

This morning the year sixes investigated Engineering as part of their learning in technology. We first discussed what engineers do and talked about their career path. We found out that they are technologists: they design products to solve real life problems.

We then read a book called the Impossible Bridge by Jane Buxton. We discovered that civil engineers are responsible for creating roads and bridges. We then attempted to design and create our own impossible bridges: we were given one piece of paper that had to hold the weight of a lego car and driver. We tried lots of different designs similar to what we had seen in the book.

Our first attempt

 The paper arch bridge and beam bridge were the least successful, but we found that the piece of paper could hold the weight of the car if we folded it lots of times, like the one pictured below.


We thought of lots of reasons why this might be. One reason was that there were lots of points at which the piece of paper was touching both the car above it and the table below it. We also saw that the folds of the paper looked like a series of triangles. It was then that we watched a video and found that triangles are the strongest shape and that they are often used to build bridges because the force or weight of the cars going over them is spread evenly between each of the three sides.
Creating a square shaped bridge

We tested this out by building a bridge out of squares and out of triangles, using the same amount of materials for each. The triangle bridge could hold far more weight than the square bridge. We then made a larger bridge, out of squares made up of two triangles, which was able to hold the weight of a toy car.

Our materials had to be an exact length for our design to work
Finally we learnt about another shape that is seen a lot in architecture: Geodesic Domes. These are made up of a series of triangles and the more triangles you add the more circular they become.This was a tricky build and a lot of problem solving was involved in order to finally make the dome! We are pretty proud of our final product though.


  1. I like the shape because it the best

  2. I like the fact that Architecture is a way to learn about construction.

  3. Hi there, my name is Alyzae and I am a student in room 21 at Owairaka School. I really like how you have done a lot of tests on your guy's bridge. Have you thought of making a video and showing us what you guy’s have used and. If you would like to see my learning

  4. Hi my name is Essa and I am in owairaka school. Wow My favourite picture is is the car. I really enjoy your posts, keep posting and good job! you could go to my blog at

    1. Hi Essa,

      Thank you for your comment, I will check out your blog now!

      Anita GBS

  5. hi my name tobi cool lego keep publishing your stuff

  6. to glenbrae kids in room 8 and to your teacher.i liked how your class made the car out of lego that was really you think that your class can make a big boat out of lego? will that be a challenge for you and your class??


  7. Hi Room 8, my name is Raharuhi from Kawakawa Primary. I really like how you have done lots of tests on your guy's bridge. Have you thought of making a video and showing us what you guy’s have used and how it worked. If you would like to see my learning blog