Lesson 3: Building bridges

Children learn about material properties and why they are important. They learn to use tools including saws to build a wooden bridge.

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objectives

To build a wooden truss bridge.

National curriculum

  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials, components and construction materials according to their functional properties and aesthetics

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Provide extra help by doing the making stages one at a time and reviewing with the children before moving on, this can break up the activity and also make it feel more manageable. Allow the children to work in pairs or small groups as a production line and switch stations. Use the Truss bridge cutting mat as a guide for cutting wood sections to the correct size.

Pupils working at greater depth: Express the need to achieve a high-quality finish, sanded down, accurate with no gaps and secured at all joints effectively. Provide the extension activity Wood facts leaflet to expand and consolidate their knowledge of wood. Use a ruler and square to measure wood accurately, after establishing what size they need to be on the Truss bridge cutting mat.


Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding


Created by:
Vicki Risianova,  
Design & Technology specialist
After 4 years of being a TV and radio presenter, Vicki headed to the secondary classroom where she spent 12 years teaching Design and Technology as well as PE. Working as a subject leader, she ran D&T tournaments and weekly…
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