Weston Middle School

Technology/Engineering Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Grade 7 Design-Construction

 Arch Bridge Demonstration Links

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Additional Material


Using base board, build arch with concrete patio blocks, and invite students to sit and stand on it.

What is holding up the arch? What happens to the downward force of the blocks?

A stone arch works solely in compression.

Mortar, when used primarily serves to transmit compressive forces, rather than to "stick" the stones together.

Above: Dry Stone arch by master mason Dan Snow

Below: Echo Bridge, Newton

Stone Arches 


NOVA(PBS)- Physics of Stone Arches/Cathedrals


Revised April 2007 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org