STEM education is becoming more and more prevalent and relevant. STEM education has grown out of the understanding that life is inherently cross-curricular and interdisciplinary in nature and that education should match. “It is no wonder that many secondary school students complain that school is irrelevant to the larger world. In the real world, we do not wake up in the morning and do social studies for 50 minutes. The adolescent begins to realize that in real life we encounter problems and situations, gather data from all of our resources, and generate solutions. The fragmented school day does not reflect this reality” (Hayes Jacobs, 1989, p. 1). We have known for decades, long before the term STEM was first used, that interdisciplinary education makes sense, as it better prepares students to face the problems that the postsecondary world will throw their way.

In essence, the engineering curriculum, and STEM curriculum overall need to prepare students to solve problems, and bridges pose a problem. Experts state:

There are more than 617,000 bridges across the United States. Currently, 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of the nation’s bridges, are considered structurally deficient, meaning they are in “poor” condition. Unfortunately, 178 million trips are taken across these structurally deficient bridges every day. (infrastructurereportcard.org, 2021, Bridges)

This information comes directly from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and this is one reason why it is important to educate students about bridges and the engineering conundrum they provide.

Exit Requirement

Professional Project

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Committee Chair

Joshua Schultze

Committee Member

Stephanie Sutton

Committee Member

Mary Tyree


Bridge, Bridges, STEM, Curriculum



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education

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