GOAL: Today we will be building bridges! We will learn what makes real bridges so strong, and use
those ideas to make bridges of your own. We want to design and build a structure that can hold as much
weight as possible, so make sure your bridge is flat on top (we will be stacking books on them at the
end!). It is important to understand that you don’t need a bunch of materials to make a great bridge! Try
to focus on a great design and strong construction.
● Straws
● Pipe Cleaners
● Large Paper Clips
● Small Paper Clips
● Scissors
● Tape
The strength of the bridge does not only depend on how much material is used, but its strength also
depends on how it is designed.
Bridges work by putting its beams in a combination of tension and compression. This distributes the
weight of the load in a way that makes the bridge very strong and capable of holding a lot of weight!
1. Survey the materials you have been given. You may use the straws as segments and the paper clips
as pin joints. The pipe cleaners can be used inside of the straws to add strength. Tape may be used
as additional support. Again be creative, you are only limited by the materials you have been given.
2. Design the bridge you would like to construct. Talk about this with your partner/s or draw out a
3. BUILD! Construct the bridge you have in mind. If your designs fails you can always go back and
4. Test the strength of your bridge. You may use things around the room to test its strength. Be sure
and ask your mentor to make sure it is alright for you to use them.