Q:

What is a way to build a bridge for a school project?

A:

For school projects, bridges are usually made out of ice pop sticks or toothpicks and glue. Incorporating triangular shapes into the bridge design will make it strong.

Building a bridge as a school project is used to teach students about basic engineering concepts, and principles of math and science. Ordinarily flimsy materials, like toothpicks or ice pop sticks, can be made to hold quite a bit of weight if they are configured properly in a bridge design.

A popular bridge design for school projects is the truss bridge, a real-life bridge which relies on connected, triangular units for its load bearing capacity. The triangle is one of the strongest shapes in engineering. Incorporating triangle shapes throughout the bridge lends added enforcement to what would otherwise be a straight, rectangular configuration.

The student should first draft a blueprint of the bridge design on graph paper. Consulting educational books and websites about basic bridge engineering principles will be helpful.

The bridge should include two main supports, one on either end, with the beam of the bridge running between them. This makes it possible for the bridge to span two desks sitting near each other, much like a bridge in real life spans a river. Building a toothpick bridge takes many days as the glue needs time to dry. The student should glue the toothpicks together with regular school glue and hold the toothpicks together with clothespins while the glue dries.


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