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Newspaper Bridges

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    The Exploratorium

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Newspaper Bridges

In this activity, learners build bridges out of newspaper and tape to explore how structures are designed to bear loads. Learners adjust and modify their designs to accommodate a certain amount of weight (books). This lesson guide includes background information, discussion questions, and extensions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

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

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model

English, Italian

Materials List (per group of students)

  • A lot of newspaper (2-4 Sunday papers)
  • 6-foot length of tape (or string or yarn or rubber bands)
  • Several identical heavy objects (such as textbooks) for weights
  • Bathroom or other scale (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium, ©2000

Funding Source:

  • Unisys


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