Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trains, Planes & Automobiles

Infrastructure and communities have been the enrichment focus lately here at the Atlantic Home School Assistance Program.  Water, power, roads, bridges; boats, planes, trains, and automobiles!  It's really amazing when you realize that a mere 150 years ago there was hardly a road in the state of Iowa.  Take a look at a map now!  We have roads crisscrossing the entire state, and every one of them was built by someone.  The Romans taught us a lot about how to build roads.  They actually built them in layers, just as we do now.  Did you know the Roman empire had over 50,000 miles of roads, some of which (the Appian Way for example) are still in use today?

We are just starting to take a look at bridges.  Some of them are pretty amazing structures!  (Can you imagine going back to life without them?)  Beam bridges, arch bridges, truss bridges, cable bridges, suspension bridges, cable-stayed bridges and even bridge/tunnel combinations! (ever heard of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel?)  One of the country's oldest bridges is the Philippi Covered Bridge in western Virginia.  The double-barreled 286-foot long, covered truss was completed in 1852 by builder Henry Hartley and cost  just over twelve thousand dollars.   Another modern marvel is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, (pictured above) one of the world's longest cable-stayed bridges, spanning the mouth of Tampa Bay.  It's a real beauty and has won numerous design awards since opening in 1987.

Well, we will be swimming in raw spaghetti and glue before long, as I attempt to mentor your kids in the building of bridges.  Hopefully I will have pictures to share in the future.  Until then...

Still in one peace,


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