Building Bridges

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this activity, learners explore the engineering design process and the basic mechanics behind building bridges as they build one themselves using gumdrops and toothpicks. After building their bridge, learners can challenge themselves to see how many books their bridge can hold. Activity comes with step-by-step instructions with visual aids, an explanation of the science behind the activity, and suggested questions to engage learners. This activity uses low cost materials and can be done at home.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 100 toothpicks
  • 4-8 books
  • Gummy candies (gumdrops and orange slices work well)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • 4-H STEM Lab


  • All rights reserved, 4-H, 2020

Funding Source:

  • HughesNet