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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 Summer Science Roundup


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School and family science weekly spotlight: experiment with tonic water and a black light to learn more about fluorescence and light energy!

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Are you a picky eater? Maybe there is a scientific reason for your reluctance to eat certain foods even if you know they are good for you. Find out with a tongue-dyeing taste-testing science project!

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Catch the annual Perseids meteor shower and tie in some fun family astronomy science with an exploration of parallax. How far away are the things we see in the sky?

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School and family science weekly spotlight: make a solar oven from household and recycled materials.

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With different kinds of dried beans, plastic cups, and water, kids can model rocks and observe the way different sized particles in rocks affect how much water a rock can hold.

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Students can experiment with the engineering design process by trying to improve the durability of a simple handheld device.



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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