Oct 17, 2013

Wonderworks: Bridge Building


What's the strongest bridge you can build?

Today's Topic: Bridge construction
plastic drinking straws (or uncooked spaghetti)
cardboard tubes
cereal boxes
Duplo or LEGO blocks
toy cars
books (for weights to test the strength of bridges)

cover art Cross a bridge / Hunter, Ryan Ann  

 What Kids Do: 
I liked these creative interpretations of bridges:

okay, these are starting to look more bridge-y:

how many cars can a piece of paper hold up?

tube bridges were popular (these were stronger than your average cardboard tube.  I found them in a secondhand shop and have no idea what their original purpose was...):

After he determined that his bridge could easily support 3 cars, but ran out of room, he extended his bridge:
 it still works!
 Here's a bridge made from cardboard boxes:
 This one combines tubes and boxes and has a ramp (otherwise, how would the cars get onto the bridge?)

 it's pretty strong!
 This participant wove straws together to make her bridge:

 then she tested it with a weight:
Oops!  Too tippy!
 This group built an elaborate construction using straws, tape and cardboard:
 but when put to the test with just one car...
 so they altered their bridge to make it more stable:
 This participant re-discovered the joy of ramps!
 This one built a drawbridge that could raise or lower...
 to let "boats" pass underneath!

Hindsight Tip: 
--I perhaps should have begun with a basic definition, that a bridge is something that connects two objects with space to move underneath the bridge.
--Although it's tempting to put out a wide variety of materials for kids to build with, true creativity is sparked by a scarcity of supplies.  If I did this class again, I'd probably take out the straws and Duplo blocks and possibly even just limit it to the blocks, pieces of lumber and cardboard tubes... maybe the cereal boxes? 

 Variations to try: 
There are tons of different "bridge building" challenges on Pinterest--go search for it there and pick your favorite variation!

Related app:
Bridge Basher by Jundroo (available on Apple and free on Android)

1 comment:

  1. Love this post, it provided just the right jumping off point for my bridge program with a home school group.
    Thank you
    Becky bhurd@oswego.lib.il.us


Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC; more resources at BlogXpertise