Unit 3: Across the water

This unit is about ways of getting across water – ranging from bridges and tunnels to ferries. You’ll hear about some nervous travellers and a disaster that actually happened.

In this unit you’re going to …

  • listen to some information from a tourist guide
  • read about and identify four different types of bridges in London
  • listen to and follow spoken directions on a map
  • talk about travel experiences
  • write a story about an imaginary trip
  • read a newspaper report about a bridge that collapsed

Language focus: comparatives (older than), superlatives (the oldest), giving and understanding directions

Exposure (after Step 5)

World record paper bridge

For part of the physics curriculum at Plano West Senior High School in Texas, USA, the students had to build bridges out of nothing but paper, tape and glue. In 2008, a girl called Anna Gu built a world record paper bridge holding 486 kg (after initially breaking the hook that held the weights at 363 kg the day before).


Shigeru Ban Paper Bridge Construction

During a one month workshop in summer 2007, students of architecture built a paper bridge over the Gardon River in southern France. The bridge was designed by Shigeru Ban Architects. The cardboard-tube structure was strong enough to carry 20 people. It was dismantled for the rainy season. The bridge was made from 281 cardboard tubes, each 11.5 centimetres across and 11.9 millimetres thick and weighed 7.5 tonnes. The steps were made from recycled paper and plastic and the foundations wooden boxes packed with sand. Explore the website of the architecte.


Life's stories

Video of The Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (no commentary)



Video of The Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (with commentary, script)