For other activities, see the Activities Chapter.
This can be used as a team building activity. Break the group into small teams. Go over some different bridge designs explaining their construction, advantages, and disadvantages. Demonstrate some fundamentals about bridges (see below). Explain the rules of the contest. Have each team design and build a bridge.
The Internet has a wealth of information about bridges. Here are some good sites:
Some rules you might consider:
- A support works better if placed under a span rather than glued to the side - the weight is transferred from the span into the support instead of into the glue that holds the span.
- Triangles are stronger than squares - squares tend to deform, triangles don't.
- Set a time limit (at least 30 minutes) to build the bridge. The glue will need to have some extra time to dry. Hold the contest the next day if possible. A hair dryer could be used to speed up drying time or use hot glue.
- Only pasta and glue provided may be used - no other materials are allowed.
- The bridge must span a specified distance (make this smaller for younger children or shorter period of time).
- A specified object must be able to fit under the bridge. Small model trucks are good for this.
- A specified object (maybe a small model car) must be able to pass over the bridge.
- In case of a tie, the bridge that weighs the least wins.
Hold a contest to see which bridge meets all the criteria set down in the rules and holds the most weight. After the contest, ask each team how they could have made their bridge better.
Other materials that could be used:
- Poster board, tape, and string
- Craft or Popsicle sticks
Another variation of this is to build a tower. The tower must be a specified height and support a specified weight for a minimum specified amount of time.
In case of ties, the structure that weighs the least wins.
Copyright © 2003 Vincent Hale