Using specification design and build a bridge to meet as many specifications as possible.
Materials: 1 sheet of copy paper, 5 paper clips, ruler, 2 books or blocks, at least 100 pennies, metal washers and scissors.
Group Size: 2
Hold up the sheet of paper and ask how many pennies can it hold? Discuss different types of bridges that students have seen. How long were they? How tall? What were they designed to transport? What other consideration went into planning the bridge?
Discuss engineers cannot build full size bridges to test a design. They make smaller versions, a scale model, down sized by proportion. This means if the engineering is designing a bridge that must span 350 feet, a model may be built or designed on a computer to test specifications. In any event it will not be actual size. The bridge model will be down sized to proportion. If the scale is 1cm: 10 feet what does that mean? What is the actual length of the model bridge? If the scale changes to 1 cm: 25 feet what happens to the model? Does it still represent the actual bridge that must be built?
Can you build a paper bridge that can hold 100 pennies?
Bridge is over water, must accommodate boat traffic below, and automotive traffic also. The bridge must support it's own weight as well as anything placed on it. Paper Bridge must span 20 centimeters. The sides of your bridge will rest on two books and cannot be taped or attached to the books or the table.
Test bridge design by adding one penny at a time to see how many pennies can be added to make bridge collapse. Keep track of the number of pennies placed on the bridge. The group who places the most pennies on the bridge is the winner.