Activity Overview

In this Activity, students design and test a variety of culvert (tunnel) designs, and they learn how poor backfilling procedures can contribute to culvert failure.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the activity, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the mechanical function of culverts and other underground tunnels
  2. Briefly and partially describe how they work
  3. Offer tentative ideas about the features that make for an effective (non-collapsing) culvert geometry
  4. Discuss the importance of backfilling procedures

Tips for Using the Activity

Students should be encouraged to enjoy the Activity.

They should not be rushed or under pressure to obtain the “correct answer” or a high grade.

Instead, they should be given a chance to design and test possible culvert designs. Students should be encouraged to take “before” and “after” photos of their tests.

Equipment Design

This is an easy Activity to build and operate. We used much of the same equipment for the Tanks, Culverts, Dams and Retaining Wall Activities.

Additional Information

See the Downloadables section for more information on this activity.