Engineering: It's Bridges and Much, Much More!

So much of what we encounter each day is shaped by engineering. Engineers work in many different ways and take on many projects. Engineers take the principles of science and math and apply them directly to making things or solving problems. There are many types of engineers and your lives are touched by their work every day.

Engineers help make things safe. Buildings, roads, bridges, machines, cars, toys, computers, clothes, furniture, food, bicycles, planes, rockets, boats, pens, medicines, replacement joints, artificial heart valves, and cell phones are just a short list of what engineers dream up or improve. They design rides at Disneyland and toys like the Slinky. They are involved in every step of these processes from design, manufacture, testing, and repair. Engineering is a field that offers a wide variety of opportunities for careers that are rewarding personally and financially. As you do this month's Mission, think about your future and whether you might like to be an engineer. Read more about engineering as a career.

Feeling Tense? Compressed? About to Snap?

Tension (pulling) and compression (pushing) are two of the forces of motion. Understanding them helps us to understand how bridges work. Try these simple activities that illustrate the forces at work. Go to the Feeling Tense activity.

Make a Sweeeet Bridge!

Build a bridge using kitchen materials by applying a few of the things you've learned about forces. It's harder than you think to design and build a marshmallow-and-toothpick Sweet Bridge.

Author(s), Presenter(s): 
Trudy Dunham and Jay Staker
Year published or updated: 
2008