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Bridges (Grade 7)

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Engineering Volunteer Activities
Main Image
Engineering Volunteer Activities
Activity Language
Time Needed for Activity

Students are introduced to form and function of structures and then build a bridge given certain limitations.

What You Need


  • Popsicle sticks (6 per student)
  • Tape (5-6 rolls of electrical tape for the class to share)
  • Toothpicks (6-10 per student)
  • String (1-2 foot long piece per student)
  • Elastics (2-3 per student)
  • Straws (5 per student)
  • Pipe-cleaners ( 1-2 per student)
  • Newspaper or newsprint (2 sheets per student)
  • Photos of bridges on PowerPoint
  • YouTube Video of the Tacoma Bridge



Safety Notes

As a Let’s Talk Science volunteer, safety must be foremost in our minds during all activities. As STEM role models, volunteers must always also model safe science practices.

Always keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Emphasize and demonstrate appropriate safety procedures throughout the presentation.
  • Be professional but have fun.
  • Keep workspaces clean to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Allergens should have been checked before reserving the kit (e.g. allergies to latex).

What To Do

Build the strongest bridge you can that spans 45 cm.

  1. Draw your design including whatever materials you want (you cannot use more than 6 sticks or 5 straws).
  2. You have to use at least on piece of paper in your design.
  3. Once you have your design drawn, you cannot change the design – you must build the bridge you designed [This means, you should spend time thinking about how the materials will make your bridge stronger, the shape of your bridge, etc. before starting]
  4. Build your bridge.
  5. Test it using books for strength when a force is applied
  6. If time, go back and change or add new materials to make it stronger