-->
Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

Building Bridges

ggbridge.jpg

Born on June 13, 1806: John Augustus Roebling, an engineer especially known for suspension-style bridges and the design of the Brooklyn Bridge. From straws to balsa wood to egg shells, students can get hands-on this summer exploring and testing bridge construction. In an episode of the "Magic School Bus," Ms. Frizzle's class experimented with gum drops and toothpicks. What will you use? (Image Source: Wikipedia)


Today in Science History: Are you following our updates on famous scientists and engineers? It's a great way to spark inquiry and discussion over the summer. We post these updates on our Facebook page. Please join us there!


A classic 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. To complicate matters, Ms. Frizzle's class has been shrunk! At two inches tall, the span of the bathtub seems about the size of the Grand Canyon!


Making Connections

Connected building blocks stacked vertically make a tower. But the same connected stack stretched side to side between two elevated objects creates a bridge.... and brings up bridge-related problems, like sagging! Shorten the distance of the bridge, and you may minimize the sagging. But if you need to span a bigger area, what can you do?

Tinkering with concepts of bridge design and principles of structural engineering is something students can explore alone or in teams, and summer is a great time to gather household supplies, and see what works. Bridge building offers a creative activity, a brain teaser, and an engineering project all wrapped up in one. Make it a challenge! Which kind of bridge is strongest? How can you test bridge strength? How can various kinds of bridges be reinforced to increase their strength? Which type of bridge holds up best in an earthquake? How wide can the bridge be before and remain strong?


In Action

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


thumbnail
Can you harness the sun to cook your dinner? A solar oven skeptic is converted after building his own solar oven and putting it to the test.

thumbnail
Put yourself in the middle of ongoing research and development with a cutting-edge student biomedical engineering, human biology, or computer science project.

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: explore the science of speed and constant acceleration.

thumbnail
You don't have to wait until the last minute to start the project display board for a science fair project. A great board takes planning, and you can do a good deal of preliminary legwork getting your board ready even...

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: listen to how music and sound are incorporated in movies of certain types.

thumbnail
Science activities and projects that let kids get hands-on with things slimy, ghoulish, gross, light-up, or glow-in-the-dark.



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!



You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.