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Bridging the Gap

“Bridging the Gap” is the theme for the Year 7/8 LEX@R Program in Term 2. Students will be building their own bridge and having it tested by the Year 12 Physics students for strength and load bearing capacity. Later we will consider some metaphorical bridges, debating their existence and usefulness. Part of the Research and Design process for our bridge building has been to look at different bridge designs, the forces acting upon a bridge structure, and to watch some famous disasters.

Last Monday, we visited Castledare Miniature Railway and the Riverton Foreshore. We were blessed to be met by Mr Les Smith, a Railway Engineer and volunteer with the Miniature Railway, and hear his explanation of the bridges at Castledare and how they were built, including why some had failed. Avoiding local resident, Toby the tiger snake (who didn’t make an appearance!), and the mostly beautiful but consistently wet river, we took some measurements and sketches of our own.

We then proceeded to the bridges at Riverton to explore a full-scale version of two beam bridges. Here we took a tally of the use of the bridge, and measured the bridge span and the depth of the water under the bridge. One group explored the underbelly of Shelley Bridge and its design.

Our thanks go to Mrs de Jongh, Mrs Gibbon, and Mrs Soloveva for giving up their time to transport and accompany us.

Mrs R Dalais

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