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The Science of Bridges

   Golden Gate Bridge
May 27, 1937 marked the initial celebrations of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, a project that was started in January of 1933 and cost more than 35 million dollars. (Source: Wikipedia)

A popular Magic School Bus episode involves making a bridge out of materials found in the bathroom in order to cross the bathtub, in which an alligator is lurking. DragonFly TV has on online episode called the "Bridge Building Club" which follows a middle-school team's efforts at designing and testing a balsa wood bridge.

Understanding bridge design and the structural principles involved starts young. Connected building blocks stacked vertically make a tower. But the same connected stack stretched side to side between two elevated objects creates a bridge. Getting started is easy. Making it structurally sound is more complicated. How wide can it be? Will it sag? Will it break apart? Can it bear weight?

For hands-on fun with bridges and an introduction to structural design, check out the following Science Buddies science fair project ideas:

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


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Thanks to Aerojet Rocketdyne, the INFINITY Science Center, and Science Buddies, teachers in Mississippi got a booster course in rocket science—and paper airplane folding.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: use dough to explore the relationship between dimensions of an object and volume.

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In movies like Dolphin Tale, you don't have to look far to find the engineering design process in action. With the steps of the engineering process being acted out as the story unfolds, students see that success often involves a great deal of trial, error, testing, and redesigning.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: explore the science of making soup from dried beans.

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Book 3 in the Nick and Tesla series offers great gadget-oriented science and engineering fun from the twins as they stay with their eccentric scientist uncle for the summer.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: explore the role of fat and temperature on pie crust texture.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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