On Monday 1st December, 29 Engineering Science pupils in S4, S5 and S6, accompanied by three staff went on a visit to The New Forth Crossing Education and Contact Centre. The aim of this visit was to allow the pupils to see the new bridge under construction, gain an understanding of the project and develop an awareness of engineering roles and disciplines involved in a large scale engineering project.
The Education and Contact Centre is a purpose built facility that houses the exhibition and the Transport Scotland control hub. With large windows at the front offering a fantastic view across the Firth of Forth and the three bridges this is a great facility to observe the construction of the Queensferry Crossing.
Upon arrival the pupils were given some time to read the numerous informative displays and scale models which provided details of the existing bridges and the current project. After a short glimpse into the Transport Scotland control room the pupils were shown a Power Point Presentation which gave detailed information about the design and construction phases of the new bridge including information about all the associated infrastructure like roads, materials, logistics etc.
The group was then introduced to two graduate engineers who are working on the project. They took the group out onto the existing road bridge for a look across at the construction progress of the piers and towers. This was a good opportunity to get a bit closer to the construction and ask questions to the engineers about specific aspects of the project.
Back in the education centre the group was set a bridge building challenge where team work and communication skills were crucial. Using short lengths of dowel and elastic bands each team member was shown how to make a tetrahedron. These were then used by teams of 4 to construct sections of the bridge before all the small teams came together to build a full bridge which was 7.5m long and 2.4 m high. All the pupils worked well together and the finished bridge worked very well.
This was a fantastic trip and a brilliant experience for pupils studying Engineering Science.
Mr Jonathan Richards, Technical Education department