Design and build a bridge and understand how they work. Different types of bridges can serve different purposes depending on how they are built.
Age: Grades Pre-K-6
Prep (Time): 10 minutes
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Background Information for Educator:
- Ask open ended questions to see what experience the student(s) have with bridges.
- Have them spend time drawing bridges in their journals.
- Show student a variety of bridges. Why would this be called an Arch? What does suspension mean? Do you know what a cable is? Have you ever heard of a truss? (what shapes do you see in the truss?)
- While looking at pictures of bridges try to make observations to see what type they might be and what might they be used for. Is it for pedestrians, vehicles, animals?
- What shapes do you see? How do you think they built this bridge. How heavy do you think something could be to safely cross this bridge?
- Next, have them build a bridge using just a piece of paper and a few blocks. Have them try so support various objects on the bridge (markers, crayons, etc.)
- Craft sticks
- Plastic animals
- Counters to pile on top
- Encourage kids to reflect back on the bridge pictures when they are creating their designs.
- For older kids, ask them to recall what pushes and pulls the bridge (compression and tension)
- Ask: Where else have you heard or pushing and pulling/compression and tension? Why are those things important to know about with bridges? What bridges have you seen before? What makes them unique?
- *Keep an eye on small counters…usually kids at younger age are beyond the eating toys phase but you never know J
- Cut out a long piece of paper to serve the top of your bridge. This piece should be able to withstand the weight of your plastic animals.
- Connect your bridge buy using arches, trusses, tension, etc.
- Add weight to the top of your bridge. Your bridge should be able to withstand the weight.
- Experiment with different materials such as spaghetti, popsicle sticks, rubber bands