Building bridges: Kasson-Mantorville students have an “immersive” taste for engineering


According to the Southeast Services Cooperative, the project is part of a year of “immersive experience” for the second-year class, during which students will teach real professionals different types of work. On Tuesday, they began inquiring about bridges from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“The elementary years are not too early for students to explore different careers,” said KM Superintendent Mark Matuska. “We are thrilled when students have the opportunity to have hands-on experiences guided by industry professionals. “

Left to right, Landry Kester, Finnian Ross and Brody Thompson, all second-graders at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, work on a bridge-building exercise hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation while learning about engineering careers on Tuesday 23 November 2021, in Kasson. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

The students were given different roles: safety inspector, parts supplier, etc. Together they had to build a 6 foot version of a truss bridge.

Newsletter subscription for email alerts

During a break, MnDOT project estimator Sam Muench introduced students to the different types of bridges around the world: suspension bridges, truss bridges, lift bridges and more.

There is a bridge near Virginia, Minn., He said, that is 194 feet high.

“Saint-fromage!” A student exclaimed.


Jane Alberts, left, and Sophia Bremer, both in second grade at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, work on a bridge-building exercise hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation while learning about engineering careers on Tuesday 23 November 2021 in Kasson.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Jane Alberts, left, and Sophia Bremer, both in second grade at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, work on a bridge-building exercise hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation while learning about engineering careers on Tuesday 23 November 2021 in Kasson. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Muench started talking about one of the longest bridges in Minnesota, located in Duluth.

“It’s a mile and a half long,” he said. “You could drive indefinitely to cross that bridge, couldn’t you?” ”

“I went to Duluth! Another student offered.

When all the pieces were put together – when all the bolts had been tightened and checked – the second-graders had a chance to try their handiwork. As a team, they lifted the bridge, resting each end on a pair of desks. And then, one at a time, they crawled over it.

Cindy Morgan, MnDOT’s public engagement coordinator, said the project helps students develop their teamwork skills.

“We’re really happy to be able to do it again,” Morgan said of working with students in schools. “Just bringing in some of these terms – like ‘force of gravity’ and the fact that shapes have force – really helps set up that early learning and understanding for later.”


Second-grade students from Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, including Landry Kester, center, work on a bridge-building exercise hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation while learning about engineering careers on Tuesday 23 November 2021 in Kasson.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Second-grade students from Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, including Landry Kester, center, work on a bridge-building exercise hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation while learning about engineering careers on Tuesday 23 November 2021 in Kasson. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin


Comments are closed.