Paper Bridge Design Challenge
- Explain how a bridge's shape can make it stronger.
- Perform tests to compare different bridge designs and determine which one can support more weight.
Your students have probably walked or ridden over a bridge at some point in their lives. In this engineering activity they will design and make bridges out of folded pieces of paper, and test how much weight they can hold with pennies. How does the shape of a bridge affect its strength? Let your students explore and find out with this lesson!
This lesson can be expanded to a second lesson looking at how the material a bridge is made out of can change its strength; see second lesson for details.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity was inspired by Prof. Margot Vigeant of Bucknell University.
For each group of students:
Area of Science
Shape, weight, strength
Explore Our Science Videos
BlueBot 4-in-1 Robotics Kit
Slippery Slopes - STEM activity
Gel Electrophoresis and Forensic Science: Biotechnology Science Fair Project