The Structure of Bridges

Time Frame: 1 Class Period

Description: The students put pennies on paper bridges to see which bridge shape holds the most weight.

Educational Objectives:

  • The students will identify and solve a simple problem.
  • The students will evaluate the stability of a product or design.
  • The students will compare and contrast various bridge designs.
TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills):
  • Science 112.3.1(A) Demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory investigations.
  • Science 112.3.1(B) Make wise choices in the use and conservation of resources and the disposal or recycling of materials.
  • Science 112.3.2(A) Plan and implement descriptive investigations including asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, selecting and using equipment and technology.
  • Science 112.3.2(B) Collect information by observing and measuring.
  • Science 112.3.2(C) Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence.
  • Science 112.3.2(D) Communicate valid conclusions.
  • Science 112.3.2(E) Construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts to organize, examine and evaluate information.
  • Science 112.3.3(C) Represent the natural world using models and identify their limitations.
  • Science 112.3.4(B) Demonstrate that repeated investigations may increase the reliability of results.
  • Explorer's Notebook, pages 2-3
  • Bridge Design Sheet
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Wooden blocks (2 per group)
  • Pennies

Advanced Preparation:
  • Duplicate the Bridge Design Sheet on duplicating paper.
  • Put all of the materials in a central place.

  1. Have students test the stability of various bridge shapes by following the directions on the Investigator's Log.
  2. Let students discuss which bridge shape held more pennies.

Formative Assessment: Explorer's Notebook, page 2


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These pages were made through TeacherTECH, the teacher professional development component of GirlTECH, which is sponsored by the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE) with support from the National Science Foundation through EOT-PACI, RGK Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, Rice University, and HiPerSoft.

Copyright June 2002 by Shirley Willingham