Week 2: The Bridges to Friendship

In the field of Civil Engineering, structure specialists study the support systems and materials which are necessary to create solid infrastructure. This week the Engineering Apprenticeship students investigated the support systems and materials which civil engineers have used to create the system of bridges and buildings in the city of Chicago.

 Architecture Boat Tour

The Engineering Apprenticeship students and I ventured outside of the class room on an architectural boat tour of Chicago. A summer storm greeted us as we made our way out onto the Chicago River, however it would take more than a rainy day to dampen the apprenticeship spirit of comradery and curiosity. The students were able to analyze many different support systems used in the bridges, historic buildings and skyscrapers which fill the City of Chicago.

As the Apprentices continued to discuss the development of lasting structures, in Character Education the students began a discussion on the meaning of friendship. True friendship is not only desiring good for another, but is also a growing together in good habits. The Engineering Apprentices’ drew many connections between building friendships and building bridges.

Support Systems

Strong support systems are not only necessary in building infrastructure, but are also necessary for developing lasting friendships. It is important to lay a solid foundation for both bridges and friendship to create something solid, lasting and beautiful.

In art, architecture and engineering, the triangle is recognized as the strongest geometric shape. After studying different bridge support systems, the Engineering Apprentices used the triangle to create the supports for their popsicle stick bridges.


In designing a structure such as a bridge, engineers must figure out the best and most affordable material for the job. If the substance of the bridge is not sustainable, then the entire support system will collapse. Likewise, for a true friendship to form it must be cultivated in a mutual striving towards virtue.