Construction Technologies: Construct the Strongest Bridge

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Learners work in pairs to create three simple types of bridges, a beam bridge, an arch bridge, and a suspension bridge. They will observe how the bridges work under load and discover why engineers use different types of bridges for different places. Learners are introduced to the parts needed to build a bridge, and what they are for. Resource contains detailed diagrams and photos to assist in bridge building. Investigating questions allow learners to discuss the activity and apply their understanding to their world. Activity time can be split across multiple meetings.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Cork tiles cut into 12x4 inch (30.5x10.2 cm) pieces
  • Thick Foamies
  • Ruler (12in.)
  • Permanent Marker or type of pen that can write on cork and foam
  • Florist sticks (with wire removed), or wooden skewers
  • String
  • Toothpicks
  • Tape
  • Large Embroidery needle (to thread string through cork)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Trahan-Liptak, Joy

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, 2013

Funding Source:

  • Pratt & Whitney