There are so many ways to build a bridge. Let’s take a few minutes and look at four types of bridge design and how well each type of bridge holds pennies.
Kids Activities Blog hopes this science activity will get your kids thinking about the reasons why different structures are build the way they are.
Build a Bridge
What materials do you need to build a bridge?
- 2 plastic or paper cups
- a large supply of pennies
- 2 piece of construction paper
Single Strip Bridge
The first bridge you might create is a single strip bridge. It is made of a singe piece of paper placed on two cups. You will want just a couple of inches between the cups.
Once the strip is in place, starting adding one penny at a time. This bridge only held one penny. When a second penny was added to the bridge it totally collapsed. This type of bridge just wasn’t very stable.
Collapsed Oval Bridge
An oval was made by taping to paper strips together at their ends. The ends were slightly pinched to give the oval a little more stability.
This bridge bowed in the center the same way that the single strip bridge did. It was able to hold a few more pennies. The pennies needed to be placed down the center of the bridge. When they were spread out the bridge, the bridge fell into the space between the cups.
The folded bridge was created by folding a strip of paper horizontally as you would fold a fan. The folds that were created were very narrow.
Attempts were made to lay the pennies on top of the folds, but they kept slipping into the folds on the folded bridge. This style of bridge was able to hold all the pennies gathered for this activity. It would have probably held a lot more. The bridge didn’t even have a slight bow in it.
The box bridge was made using two strips of construction paper. Each strip was folded on each side creating a U shaped strip. The two strips were placed together to form a box. Tape was placed on the sides to keep the strips together.
The box bridge held all of the pennies just as the fan bridge did. It too could probably hold a lot more pennies. It never moved or bowed even with a lot of pennies on it.
After all the bridges had been created, we talked about why one bridge design worked and others didn’t. We have our thoughts about why some were successful and others were not.
Why do you think some worked and others didn’t?
More Kids Activities
Activities like studying how to build a bridge can expand a child’s way of thinking about how things work. By testing bridge design, your child will start thinking about why some structures work better than others and be able to apply that in the world around him. For more kids activities, take a look at these: