Looking to spark the creativity of your students and learn about different types of engineering and architecture concepts? Dive deeper into bridge design elements by challenging learners of all ages to build bridges with different materials. From paper to straws and craft sticks to metal, your students will learn about forces and the engineering process with this amazing collection of build-a-bridge STEAM challenges.
1. Straw Bridges
Building a bridge out of straws is simple and easy! Students can create their bridge design solutions with just a few simple materials such as yarn, straws, paper clips, and scissors.
Learn More: Playdough to Plato
2. The Strongest Bridge
Why not take the straw bridge concept a bit further by adding a design challenge? Students will need to build the strongest bridge and measure its strength by adding pennies one by one onto the paper road.
Learn More: Learning Hypothesis
3. Paper Bridges
Looking for an introduction to bridges? Try paper bridges! Ask students what they know about these ubiquitous structures and how they are built. Then have them build a flat bridge using a piece of paper and two books before analyzing their findings.
Learn More: Science Buddies
4. Popsicle Sticks
This STEM challenge is perfect for 3 to 5-year-olds who are just beginning to learn about bridges and how they function. Supply learners with craft sticks and have them design a bridge deck to help a group of animals cross the river.
Learn More: How We Learn
5. Tooth Picks
Another construction-based STEM challenge is using toothpicks and gumdrops to build the strongest bridge. Students are free to let their imaginations run wild to build the most unique bridge shapes while making sure that they can withstand a lot of weight.
Learn More: Hessun Academy
6. Bridges Around The World
Why build a bridge in the first place? Dive further into this question by showing your students real-life examples of beautiful bridges around the world. Then, challenge them to create their own building blocks bridge, inspired by these impressive creations.
Learn More: Fantastic Fun and Learning
7. Bridge Up!
Bridge Up! is a program from Minnesota that teaches children how to build a real bridge and understand bridge-building components. Challenge your students to create their bridge prototypes using real-life materials while examining the construction technologies that go into building bridges.
Learn More: Minnesota Department of Transportation
8. Everday Items
Short on resources? No worries! You can easily build a bridge using household materials such as markers, egg cartons, and rulers. Students are sure to love designing a bridge for transporting their toy cars.
Learn More: JDaniel4’s Mom
9. Create a Teddy Bear Bridge with Practical Solutions
Challenge your kindergarteners to create their very own Teddy Bear Steam bridge from craft sticks and paper cups! Then, have them draw their design idea on the worksheet provided. This activity is a great cross-curricular choice for integrating Math, Art, Language Arts, and fine motor skills.
Learn More: Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
10. Q-Tip Bridges
This activity is perfect if you have material constraints because all you need are Q-tips and hot glue! Students learn about different types of bridges including arch, beam, suspension, flat, and box steel girders, before choosing one to create.
Learn More: STEAMsational
11. Span Challenge
Take your STEAM challenge to the next level by asking your kids to build the longest popsicle stick bridge! Students can be shown real-life bridges as well as their different attributes. After working in teams to build their bridges, they can take measurements to determine the winners!
Learn More: CMU
12. Suspension Bridge Construction Challenge
Create an upcycled suspension bridge from toilet paper rolls, string, and tape! After showing students videos and real-life suspension bridges, have them create their own before adding a heavy load to test its strength!
Learn More: Left Brain Craft Brain
13. Test Bridge Performance with a STEAM Challenge
Get your students engaged in the engineering process with this suspension bridge-building challenge! Students will learn about various bridges and how they are built before applying their knowledge to sketch and create their own suspension bridge.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
14. Pont Du Gard
Looking for a simple bridge-building challenge? Then use this Pont Du Gard real-life bridge example and create arches using sugar cubes. There may be many bridge failures in this project but with the right geometric shapes and measurements, you’ll be able to create perfect arch bridges in no time.
Learn More: Science Sparks
15. Rainbow Bridge
This Rainbow Bridge Building Project idea is an excellent choice to celebrate St. Patricks Day! Students will create a paper bridge design to help the leprechaun cross the rainbow bridge and reach the pot of gold!
Learn More: STEAM Powered Family
16. Building Bridge Bonanza
This summer bridge activity is perfect for creating cable-stayed bridges. Teach young learners about the bridge-building process before having them create their own. The strongest bridge wins!
Learn More: Science Buddies
17. Beam and Suspension Bridges
In this bridge challenge, students will combine their knowledge of beam and suspension bridges to create the most effective structure in the classroom. All you need is string, tape, ribbon, and a paper cup. To wrap up the activity, have students test the strength of their creations by adding various loads.
Learn More: STEM In Libraries