Awesome Arches

Senior School
7 Feb 20

The famous Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci once said, “An arch consists of two weaknesses, which, leaning on each other, become a strength.”

In Design and Technology, Year 5 have been building on their knowledge about bridges. Here is Mrs Savage’s account of how the pupils are learning about bridges:

“Bridges are a brilliant celebration of advancement in design and technology, embracing forces and allowing us to cross their decks. The oldest existing arch bridge is the Mycenaean Arkadiko Bridge in Greece, dating back to 1300 BC. Made of rocks, it is a far cry from the sophisticated viaducts of the Romans and the largest arch bridge in the world, Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is made from steel and has an arch span of 503m. Year 5 were given the task of testing the strength of an arch, with their only tools being cardboard, tape, a ruler and weights. Teamwork came to the fore as they carefully balanced weights on the curved cardboard and recorded their results. With weights ranging from 10g to 60g, Year 5 had to draw their conclusions as to whether the arch would bend or collapse under the weight before testing its strength. 

There were varied results, but the consensus amongst Year 5 was that the higher the arch, the more weight it could bear. The investigation entailed hands on construction and very careful balancing of weights. It was a learning curve for Year 5 that highlighted the strength of awesome arches!”