STEM skills built in St. Peter School bridge project

By EmmaLee Italia | Trenton Monitor Correspondent

For the past few weeks, the hallways of St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, have been lined with architectural wonder: model bridges, based on their real life counterparts.

The annual research project for sixth and eighth grades, which changes topic each year and includes a research paper, was a combination of STEM and social studies curriculum.

“We took a list of 80-some bridges and put them in a hat, and each student picked one,” said Lorraine McDonnell, sixth-grade teacher and social studies coordinator in St. Peter School. “They had to research different types of bridges, and how they are constructed,” she explained. “Some of the bridges are new, and others are ancient.”

Using materials of their choice, sixth graders modeled international bridges, while eighth graders modeled bridges found in the U.S.

“What I enjoyed most was building the model of the Langkawi Sky Bridge [in Malaysia],” said sixth-grader Dominic  D’Erasmo. “I learned that it takes a long time to build a bridge, and it is a challenging process.”

His classmate Jordan Hewitt modeled the Pont du Gard bridge in France. “I enjoyed sculpting the clay into the bridge’s shape,” she said. “I learned that some bridges can hold water, and not all bridges have to have cars on them. I also learned a lot about aqueducts.”

The 47 bridges were placed on display during the school’s April 27 open house, and their creators gave a presentation for parents and classmates.

Building Bridges • Dominic D’Erasmo and Jordan Hewitt, sixth grade students in St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, hold the bridges they constructed for their annual research project. Photo courtesy of Lorraine McDonnell

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