Bridges (Virtual kit drop-off)

Activity Language
Time Needed for Activity
Design and build a bridge using given materials that spans at least 30 cm and is strong enough to not compress under one book.

What You Need

Per child or group (multiple groups/class):

  • 2 pipe cleaners
  • 5 craft sticks coloured
  • 1 metre of string
  • 3 straws paper
  • 2 sheets of newspaper
  • 2-4 books or 2 bowls
  • Tools: scissors, tape

Instructions:

What To Do

No procedure, the children are given materials and the following parameters: 

This activity is a design challenge to design the strongest bridge you can with the materials in the kit and your own tape. Engineers design bridges and you can too. You can draw your design first to help decide where to use the different materials. Then build it, and then test it. If it compresses (sags) in the middle when you add a book to it, change the design or add some more materials to make it stronger. 

Here are the rules.

  • You have to build your bridge so it spans/crosses a space of at least 30 cm. That means when you place your bowls or books they need to be 30 cm apart.
  • You can't tape your bridge to the books or bowls. 
  • Your bridge must be strong enough to hold at least one book without compressing (sagging in the middle).

Discovery

What's Happening?

Bridges are a type of structure and are designed often to get us from one place to another where there might be water or a ditch or a drop off underneath the bridge. Sometimes they are made strong enough to walk on and sometimes they are strong enough to drive on. We use different materials if we are building a bridge that just holds people compared to a bridge that has to hold many cars. Engineers design bridges to be strong and stable not fall down. When a bridge gets too much weight on it, it can start to compress or sag/bend in a bit in the middle. We don't want this to happen so when building your bridge, be sure it doesn't compress when you add the book. If it does, think about what materials you can use to make it stronger. 

What's Happening?

Bridges are a type of structure and are designed often to get us from one place to another where there might be water or a ditch or a drop off underneath the bridge. Sometimes they are made strong enough to walk on and sometimes they are strong enough to drive on. We use different materials if we are building a bridge that just holds people compared to a bridge that has to hold many cars. Engineers design bridges to be strong and stable not fall down. When a bridge gets too much weight on it, it can start to compress or sag/bend in a bit in the middle. We don't want this to happen so when building your bridge, be sure it doesn't compress when you add the book. If it does, think about what materials you can use to make it stronger. 

Resources

Instructions:

Resources

Instructions:

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