H&F engineers built bridges to STEM careers for local students

More than 150 local pupils celebrated British Science Week this week by building their very own bridges with our Hammersmith Bridge engineers.

Students from St Stephen’s Church of England Primary school installing bridge platform

More than 150 local pupils celebrated British Science Week this week by building their very own bridges with our Hammersmith Bridge engineers.

Each student got to play the role of engineer, assembling and walking across a 13-meter-long bridge. They also competed to build the sturdiest model bridge out of construction toys.

“Getting our young people excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is crucial for their futures and for building a borough that's ready for tomorrow, a vital part of H&F’s pioneering Industrial Strategy,” said Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F's Cabinet Member for Public Realm.

“This week’s events let our youngest residents discover engineering in an exciting, interactive way. We want H&F to be the best place for kids to find and explore their passions.”

See all the pictures from our British Science Week activities on Flickr.

Bridging the gap

This is the second year of our Bridges4Schools programme, returning after last year’s success.

Pupils from Melcombe Primary, St Stephen’s Church of England Primary, Avonmore Primary, Wormholt Park Primary and Bute House Preparatory School all got involved.

Clemmie, 10, from St Stephen’s said: “I didn’t know much about engineering before today, and it was really fun to learn.”

The students, ranging from Years 4 to 6, started their day suiting up in hard hats, hi-vis vests and gloves.

Assigned roles like real construction crews, the teams got to work assembling the epic 13-meter bridge piece-by-piece.

“My favourite part was connecting the bridge platforms and tightening the cables,” said Danita, 11, from St Stephen’s.

Pupils in protective clothing
Students show off their bridge design

Once the bridge was raised, each kid eagerly tested their handiwork by walking across the span themselves.

Then, the pupils built model bridges with construction toys that click together like Lego pieces.

The Bridges4Schools team tasked the eight- to- 12-year-olds with designing and constructing a bridge that could support as heavy a weight as possible. 

“We learned that a structure doesn’t always need to be tall or wide to be strong,” added Mia, 11, from St Stephen’s.

On-site education

Our engineers of the future also visited Hammersmith Bridge to see the real-life importance of STEM.

Year 5s from Melcombe Primary School visited our historic, 136-year-old bridge on Thursday (14 March).

Two women engineers spoke to the kids about the Grade II*-listed suspension bridge and gave them a tour of the site – showing the class that anyone can be an engineer and helping to break the bias for the next generation of women in STEM.

This is a part of our ongoing work to encourage young women and girls to pursue careers in these field.

The team also welcomed PhD and undergraduates from University College London to site last Thursday (7 March).

Read all about other times the bridge has been a valuable teaching tool:

Student during Bridges4Schools activity
University College London students visited Hammersmith Bridge

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