History of Covered Bridges

Kids of all ages can learn about the history and preservation of covered bridges with these multimedia learning materials.

Consisting of printable educational plans (PDF) and a downloadable interactive program these materials teach both the “nuts and bolts” of engineering a covered bridge and illuminate the place of the covered bridge both in transportation history and in the development of U.S. bridge technology.

Information for Teachers

The educational guide is suitable for use by teachers of grade levels from kindergarten through the senior year of high school. Age-appropriate lesson plans are provided for each unit. History teachers will find the materials most easily adaptable to their classrooms, but math, physics, and English teachers may find particular units to be applicable in their classrooms, as the guide discusses engineering principles and the place of covered bridges in literature.

In addition to providing information about the engineering of covered bridges and the place of covered bridges in transportation history, the guide also discusses current bridge restoration projects around the country to help students comprehend the basic philosophy and techniques of covered bridge restoration and preservation.

Instructions and Details

The printable lesson plans should open immediately in a .pdf reader. The downloadable interactive program will download as a .zip file. Double click on the file to unzip the document, and then double-click on the .exe file to install the program to your computer, following the on-screen instructions.

This project was funded by the Federal Highway Administration under the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program. Teaching materials were developed by the West Virginia University Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archeology under the leadership of Dr. Emory Kemp, director emeritus of the institute and a well-known bridge historian.