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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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With a smorgasbord of fun, engaging, playful, and puzzling modules available as part of the Hour of Code initiative, kids can experiment with programming basics and sample Javascript, Python, Ruby, and more.

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The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest gives U.S. secondary public schools a chance to use STEM to help address problems affecting their students and communities--and a chance at a share of $2 million in technology.

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Are the seeds in your watermelon playing hide-and-seek? Can plants grow without soil? The plant world offers a cornucopia of mysteries that are ripe for investigation.

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Science Buddies in Action: For a third grade student with an interest in science and pinewood derby cars, the Maglev Train project combined a fun DIY activity with engaging science.

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With support from Amgen and the Lawrence Hall of Science, high school biology in the Bay Area has gotten a world-class boost of biotechnology. The Amgen Biotechnology Experience gives teachers and students the opportunity to experiment with sophisticated hands-on science...

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The Rosetta spacecraft may help provide information about the formation of the solar system and planet Earth. Students and classes explore comets and space science through hands-on science projects.



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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