The Golden Gate Bridge


In this lesson plan your students will learn about the history and location of the bridge, as well as why it remains such an important part of American culture today. They’ll also gain a better understanding of the science and engineering that goes into constructing bridges.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to allow students to view the Edumedia Website to see a simulation of how the bridge was built, in order to help them visualize how bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge are built.

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What our The Golden Gate Bridge lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: The Golden Gate Bridge will teach students all about the Golden Gate Bridge. Students will learn about the history and location of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, why the Golden Gate Bridge remains one of the most iconic images in the United States today, and about the basic science and engineering in constructing bridges. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies that you will need for this lesson are pencils, pens, and highlighters. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can gather the supplies and copy the worksheets.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. The only suggested addition to this lesson is to allow students to view the Edumedia Website to see a simulation of how the bridge was built, in order to help them visualize how bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge are built.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge lesson plan includes three pages of content. The lesson begins by stating that the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the United States’ most recognizable landmarks. They completed the bridge in 1937 and, today, we consider it one of the greatest engineering marvels ever. The bridge goes over the Golden Gate, which is a body of water that is a little longer than a mile long and connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge, which are a type of bridge that use long cables to suspend the deck of the bridge above land or water. They use the deck as the main roadway of the bridge. To make sure the bridge is strong enough to hold up all of that weight, they attached the cables to tall towers on either side of the bridge.

The cables are steel wires that were woven together, and they had to be both flexible and strong so that they don’t break when it’s windy. Engineers designed suspension bridges to sway in the wind. These bridges also have expansion joints. They expand and contract along with changes in the weather, expanding when it’s hot and contracting when it’s cold. These joints let the bridge go through these changes without breaking, like some sidewalks or roads that have large cracks in them from changes in the weather. Without these cables and joints, the bridge could crack or fall, like the Tacoma River bridge in 1940.

The Golden Gate Bridge

When Charles Crocker proposed the idea of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marion County Board of Supervisors in 1872, most engineers thought that it would be impossible to build a bridge over the Golden Gate Strait. Crocker had previously worked on the Transcontinental Railroad, which was another project that some people thought was impossible. The Golden Gate Bridge project didn’t get a lot of support until 40 years after Crocker first proposed it. At that time, the County Supervisors decided to assign the city engineer to complete a feasibility study. The first estimate for the cost of the project was $100 million!

A man named Joseph P. Strauss did the original design work for the bridge. They got their first construction permit in 1924, though they didn’t begin construction until 1933. At that time, lots of people still believed it wasn’t possible because of how large the body of water is and how windy the area is. They finished the bridge in 1937, but, sadly, some people did die during the construction.

Completing work on a bridge is always dangerous, because people could fall from the construction site. Because of this danger, eleven people died while working on the Golden Gate Bridge; Strauss, the designer, put a net under the bridge to make it safer for workers. There were many setbacks during construction, with bad weather, an earthquake, and more. It was the longest suspension bridge in the whole world until 1964!


The Golden Gate Bridge lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the lesson activity, students will answer seven questions about the lesson material to test their understanding of the lesson.


The practice worksheet asks students to choose one from a list of the longest suspension bridges in the United States and write a brief history of it. They will also compare it to the Golden Gate Bridge and should include interesting facts.


For the homework assignment, students will use the report that they wrote about a bridge for the practice worksheet. They will draw or paste a picture of the bridge and will also make a map showing the location of the bridge in the United States. Finally, they will present their image and map with the whole class.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment, though both note that students’ answers will vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade


Social Studies

State Educational Standards

NCSS.D2.GEO.8.3 – 5 , NCSS.D2.GEO.7.6 – 8

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of
most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact
your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state