This experiment illustrates how beams react to certain conditions. Foam rubber works best for this experiment, however either material will illustrate the point.
Materials: Soft kitchen sponge, permanent marker
Procedure: Draw a series of equidistance lines horizontally across the sponge. Pass the sponge around and have the students observe what happens when they bend the sponge into a U shape figure. Have them determine where is the sponge in compression and tension. What part of the bridge design may experience bending?