Paper Bridge Challenge
of Physical Science curriculum has created tasks
with strong links to Standards-based science content
objectives. The Paper Bridge challenge asks students
to make the lightest bridge (using the least amount
of materials) out of a single sheet of paper so that
it holds 1 to 3 water bottles suspended off the ground
for 10 seconds. Students design and construct their
bridges, and weigh them before testing them to see how
much material they are using in each design. Students
explore force vectors while making many design iterations
(design-and-test cycles) in a short period of time.
Within DITC's Paper Bridge pages, you can find the
3 Paper Bridge Designs
The science behind 3 typical bridge designs -- shaped
in a V, Y and T -- is discussed.
Paper Under Stress
Understanding how paper works and fails can help inform
Vector & Diagonal Forces
Read a tutorial on force vectors -- a key idea behind
the Paper Bridge task.
Watch the day-to-day implementation for the 3-day
Paper Bridge activity.
Designing Your Lessons
Watch a movie about the materials you will need and
read about key issues you'll need to know about when
planning this unit.
Watch a video sampler of bridge designs that students
created and tested.
View or print out copies of the student materials for the
first Paper Bridge activity by clicking on the icon or
title below. Visit the Kendall-Hunt
website to purchase the rest of the unit.
- Pack of 3-hole punched 8.5x11"
- Paper reinforcement tabs
- 1-liter bottles (3/4 filled with water)
- Digital scale (0.1 gram accuracy)
- Scissors, twine, rulers
- 2x4 wood, 2-4 ft long
- C-clamps to fix wood to table top