Up and Down
Crests and troughs
Peaks and valleys
Rising and falling
Like a roller coaster
Activity 1 - Poem
Using the terms above, or any others
they can come up with, ask students to write a poem about Galloping
Activity 2 - Name That Bridge
Ask students to come up with another name
for the bouncing bridge.
Galloping Gertie survived for only four months and seven days.
In the early morning hours of November 7, 1940 strong winds began
to buffet Gertie, and by 11:00 am she was resting on the floor
of the Narrows.
Today, Gertie is known as “the world’s largest man-made
reef.” An abundance of marine life thrives among the massive
girder sections, concrete rubble and half-mile of roadway submerged
beneath the Sound. It is a thriving ecosystem, and anemones, sea
stars, mussels, barnacles, octopi, salmon, rays, sea lions, black
bass, lingcod, crabs, wolf eels, sea lance and diving birds make
their homes nearby.
Activity 3 - Design a monument
Ask students to design a monument and
plaque to Gertie.
Activity 4 - Draw Gertie
Have students imagine Gertie on the
bottom of the Sound. Ask them to create a drawing showing what
her final resting-place might look like.
Activity 5 - Write a Narrative
Ask students to write a narrative of the collapse
of the bridge from Galloping Gertie’s point of view.
Include her resurrection as a reef, if desired. Refer to the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge website for further background information.
There were numerous eyewitness accounts of Galloping Gertie’s
collapse. Howard Clifford, Leonard Coatsworth, Clark Eldridge,
F.B. “Bert” Farqujarson, Ruby Jacox and Winfield Brown
provided accounts, excerpts of which are included on the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge website.
Activity 6 - Act it Out
Put students in groups of six, and using the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
website as a resource, assign each student one eyewitness account
of Galloping Gertie’s collapse. Ask them to create reenactments
of their account, and act it out for the benefit of the group.
Students should create dramatic performances to make these accounts
come alive, using costumes and props as appropriate.
The collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge resulted in only one
fatality: Tubby, a black cocker spaniel who was riding with Leonard
Coatsworth, a news editor for the Tacoma News Tribune. The gigantic
twisting motion of the bridge threw Coatsworth’s car against
the curb, and he climbed out of an open window to try to crawl
to safety. Unfortunately, Tubby was left behind in the car. Howard
Clifford tried to save Tubby, but was turned back. Then, Bert
Farquharson tried to save him, but the dog bit his finger when
he tried to get him out of the car. Thus, when the bridge finally
collapsed, Tubby went with it.
Activity 7 - Tubby Talks
Using the six traits of effective writing,
ask students to create a narrative account of the collapse
of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Tubby’s point of view.
When they are finished, ask volunteers to share their accounts
with the class.