Building Bridges to the Future: South Kent Students Learn to Carry Their Own Weight

As teachers, advisers, and classmates cheered them on in the gym, Fourth Form students — as tenth graders at the all-boys South Kent School in Connecticut are called — demonstrated their pre-engineering and pragmatic science skills in the Fourth Form Bridge Challenge. Using only specified materials such as popsicle sticks, the students — members of an Applied Technology class — had to research and create original designs, then put their innovations through stress tests to demonstrate design and construction strength. The ultimate challenge: send a miniature car across the bridge without falling off, while also carrying the maximum weight. And while all designs were unique and intricate, the winning bridge was the most impressive, able to remain standing under 165 pounds of pressure!

The Bridge Challenge is one project students have pursued at South Kent’s Center for Innovation. With an adjacent 130-acre campus used as a “Test Kitchen” for new ideas, ongoing projects include the cultivation of organic food, alternative energy generation, forest and watershed management, robotics, computer coding, and much more. Through challenge-based learning, the school believes that giving boys hands-on opportunities to solve problems that may occur in real life will help them develop skills to succeed at every future stage of their lives.

Does your school do something similar?

4 thoughts on “Building Bridges to the Future: South Kent Students Learn to Carry Their Own Weight

  1. Watching the stress tests that day, I was struck by how serious (individually), nervous (when it was their turn), and supportive (as a group) all of the 56 boys were. It did not matter if the boys primarily saw themselves as top musicians, mathematicians, or athletes–they were all bonded together during that intense 3 hour lesson.

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