OSSINING, N.Y. -- One of the first things teacher Micki Lockwood did in her fourth-grade enrichment class at Ossining's Claremont School one day in November was to check the New NY Bridge website.
She pulled up a photo of the new construction viewing platform in Rockland County and demonstrated how children could compare current and past webcam views to monitor the bridge’s progress.
Lockwood marveled that the piers for the new Tappan Zee bridge were almost completed on the Rockland side.
Children in Lockwood’s Math Circles fourth-grade classes are studying engineering and different types of bridges during this school year. Math Circles students tackle topics tied to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
The classes focus heavily on the $3.9 billion structure under construction nearby.
“I chose to teach this based on student interest,” Ms. Lockwood said. “They are always asking to build, construct, design and use technology. In fourth grade, they study New York state, so with this amazing project going on, it all just fit so neatly together.”
In October, she organized a visit from Andrew O’Rourke and Daniel Marcy of the New NY Bridge’s Outreach Team.
“I thought it was amazing. We got a lot of information from that guy,” said student Christopher Slack, referring to Marcy, a New York Thruway Authority community relations specialist.
Several minutes into the class in November, the six students resumed work on bridge models they were building with plastic cups for piers and oak tag for the bridge span. The two teams had a task manager/presenter, lead engineer and supplies engineer. “How much weight will it hold?” Lockwood asked. “See how many cars your bridge can hold before it sags or breaks down.”
Students Emma Bruckman and Daisy Monge decided not to put any “piers” below the center of their beam bridge so boats could pass underneath. The other team sacrificed nautical convenience for a sturdier span.
“It’s actually interesting to build something,” Daisy said. “I never knew math could be fun.”
Elian Tampus, who was on the other team, said it was “way more fun than I thought it would be.”
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