This easy at-home STEM activity for kids is a great way for children to engage with science in a fun way that is hands-on and entertaining!
Have you ever wondered how important structures get built? Who designs them? Who decides how to build them, or what to build them with? An architect might design a structure and construction workers might build it, but civil engineers watch the entire process to make sure that the materials, math, and design make sense. In this activity, practice being a civil engineer by building your own bridge. Experiment with materials and designs to see what makes the best bridge.
- Arrange the two stacks of books so that they are about a foot apart. The challenge: build a bridge across the stacks of books that can both reach across the gap and hold the weight of cars traveling across – pennies!
- Set a goal for your bridge – should it have to hold 10 pennies without collapsing? 25?
- Start building. Experiment with different shapes and materials. Do this with a friend or build two bridges of your own so that you can make a prediction about which will hold more pennies.
- Test it out by placing pennies one by one onto the bridge
- Did it meet your goal? Was your prediction correct?
- How much weight can it hold before it collapses or tears?
- How do you think you could improve this bridge design so that it could hold even more pennies? Do you need to change the material or the design?