100 Days of Science #61- 63: Three Fun Bridge Challenges

We've been having lots of fun with some STEM challenges.  It all started on our trip to the natural history museum when we came across a paper bridge challenge and I remembered a few other bridge building challenges I had saved on my Pinterest boards.

1.  Paper, cup and weights challenge (sorry the pictures are so dark there was no flash photography allowed in the museum where we carried out this challenge).

Using just an ordinary sheet of paper and two cups to construct a bridge they then tested their bridge by placing a third cup on the bridge and seeing how many weights they could put inside it until the bridge collapsed.

My kids immediately set to folding their paper and knew that the closer the posts were placed; 
the stronger the bridge would be. 
We then tried folding our paper the short way so our bridge would be thicker and saw if that made a difference

Evan wanted to try building a bridge with the cups facing upwards

It held a lot of weight!

2.  Spaghetti challenge-- I challenged my boys to build a bridge using a box of spaghetti, some tape, some elastic bands and hot glue.  They struggled a bit at first but really rose to the challenge!

Evan's completed design is quite simple

He was happy that it easily held a few matchbox cars; it would have held more but his bridge was so narrow it was hard to find things to fit on it.

Alec put a bit more work into his bridge; making his "floor" two layers thick and beefing up the sides more.

His competed bridge held to cars, two remotes... and 

the entire bag of hot glue sticks!

Ian easily spent an hour designing and making his bridge. He brought out tools like an exacto knife and painstakingly built a free standing bridge.  It was AMAZING!

3.  Popsicle and tape bridge-- I gave each boy 25 popsicle sticks and 3 feet of tape and asked them to build a bride between two chairs placed two tiles (or two feet) apart.

Ian chose to try and build a bridge from the curved edges of the chair backs. He made sure to include supports but found his bridge wasn't very strong and could only hold up his cell phone.  He had a hard time getting the tape to really stick and thought the bridge would have been much stronger with thicker duct tape.

Alec tried making his bridge span the length of the straighter chair seats.  He too had a hard time getting the tape to stick well but his bridge held a bit more weight.  He tested it with the weight of a book, a cell phone, and the entire bucket of popsicle sticks.

Evan went about building his bridge in a completely different way; turning the sticks side ways.  It made for a very twisty bridge but it held the most weight. He thought if he had cut his tape apart and put one strip of tape on each side of the popsicle sticks his bridge would have been perfect.  He was able to balance two other buckets on top of our popsicle stick bucket-- weight wise the bridge held up just find but unless we balanced the buckets just right they topped over onto the floor.

 We had so much fun with these simple STEM/Engineering projects and will be attempting a few more soon.

Have you ever tried any of these?

Others in this series:
53. Iodine and Starch Experiment
54. Flouride and Calcium Experiment
55. Botanical Gardens in Winter
56.  Making Cell Models
57. Which Has More Water; Ice or Snow?
58. Exploding Snow and Water Baggies
59.  Exploring Minerals
60. Visiting the Hartford Science Museum

Linking Up With:


  1. Such brilliant ideas! Pinning this and sharing with my sister who is a teacher.

    Happy Wednesday!!!

  2. That's so creative! I need to try this out with my kids. I love what they did with the spaghetti! Thanks for linking this post up with us at #OMHGWW

    1. Thank you! I was really impressed with their building too; I had no idea what to do with the spaghetti!

  3. Wow, how fun and what great ideas to get them thinking! We are going to have to try these!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!



    1. They really did have to think pretty creatively for some of these!

  4. As a former science teacher, of course I loved this post. I think I must try some of these challenges with my grandson! Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. You're welcome! I have always loved science myself.


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