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Others Like “Paper Bridge for Pennies”

Project Idea
Predict how tall you can build a tower using only two sheets of newspaper as building material. You can't use tape, glue, staples, or anything else, just two sheets of newspaper. You can tear, bend, cut, or fold the newspaper. Try it out and see how close you can come to your prediction. Can you beat your prediction? As you're building, you may come up with ideas to make a better tower. Try them out! (It's not like the materials are expensive!) Here are some variations you might want to… Read more
CE_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Start with 7 drinking straws and 14 paper clips. Use the paper clips to fasten the straws together. Here's how: 1) Clip two paper clips together, narrow end to narrow end. 2) Push the wide ends of each clip into the end of a straw. That's it! Connect four straws to make a square, and three straws to make a triangle. Now test which shape is stronger. Hold the shapes vertically, with an edge or a vertex resting on the tabletop. Have a helper push on the opposite side or vertex. Which shape… Read more
CE_p017
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Suspension bridges, with their tall towers, long spans, and gracefully curving cables, are beautiful examples of the work of civil engineers. How do the cables and towers carry the load that is on the bridge? Can a suspension bridge carry a greater load than a simple beam bridge? This science project shows you how to find out. Read more
CE_p007
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Here's a fun project idea to learn about compression forces. For this experiment you'll need some empty toilet paper tubes, masking tape, sand (or table salt), pebbles (or marbles), a funnel, a cardboard box, and a sturdy chair to help you balance while testing the column. Seal one end of the tube with masking tape. Use the funnel to fill the tube with sand (or salt). Seal the other end with tape. Place the tube on end inside the paper box. Place the chair with its back to the box and hold… Read more
CE_p015
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Project Idea
thumbnail Build model bridges and then deliberately destroy them? Who'd be crazy enough to try that? Read more
CE_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Most items can be obtained locally but may require visiting multiple stores.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Bridges are big and beautiful structures, but they also need to be safe for the people who cross over them every day. Building a bridge that is safe and secure is a challenge to civil engineers. But the job is even more challenging if you live in earthquake country! Find out how engineers are solving this problem as they build a new bridge over the San Francisco Bay in California. Try some of your own Bay Bridge designs. Will your bridge design take the shake of a quake? Read more
CE_p012
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail A bridge collapse, like that of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge shown below, can be a major disaster. Bridges that cannot hold enough weight to do their intended job can be a serious public safety issue. And if they collapse, they can also cause economic damage due to costly rebuilding and people and companies scrambling to figure out how to circumvent the months of traffic impacts. #* IMG 1 *# Figure 1. On August 1, 2007 the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed killing 13… Read more
CE_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A kit for this project is available from [# Link Name="CE_p011.6" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="AquaPhoenix Education" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Research the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. What lessons were learned about the potentially damaging effects of wind on bridges? What structures stabilize a bridge against wind forces? Build models and use a wind tunnel to test your hypothesis. Read more
Aero_p030
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Geodesic domes are made of interconnected triangles that approximate the shape of a sphere. This project shows you how to build a geodesic dome using rolled-up newspapers and tape. How much weight do you think your dome will support? Build one and find out! Read more
CE_p008
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision recommended when testing the strength of the dome.
Project Idea
thumbnail This is an interesting project that explores which geometrical shapes make the strongest bridge truss structures. It is a good introduction to the engineering design process. You'll design three different trusses, and use online simulation software to analyze the distribution of load-bearing forces in each design. Then you'll build and test prototypes of each design. Read more
CE_p006
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Excellent computer skills, high school physics course
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution with sharp tools when cutting wooden parts to size. Adult supervision recommended for bridge-testing phase.
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