-->
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
The current Ebola crisis in West Africa has already topped charts for all Ebola outbreaks in history. Medical biotechnology science projects let students gets hands-on with projects that parallel real-world research and development.

thumbnail
An unusual caterpillar brings lots of "eeeews!" and one contribution to a citizen science project. Discover how anyone can collaborate on serious scientific research.

thumbnail
UC Berkeley Professor Dan Garcia talks about the kind of "drag-and-drop," block-based, snap-together programming environments that are becoming increasingly popular as a way to introduce students of all ages to code.

thumbnail
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.

thumbnail
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.

thumbnail
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.



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.