April 14, 2020
Since big bridges are made up of metal, it’s difficult to grasp the concept that engineering contributes to much of a bridge’s strength, rather than just what it’s made of. This simple spaghetti bridge STEAM activity gets us to think about what makes bridges bear weight, and how we can design a structure that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
 
The below video shows you what you’ll need to complete this STEAM activity, and even has a few grand examples of spaghetti bridges in action.
 

 
Click here to find and download the ‘Challenge Card’ instructions for STEAM activities such as the spaghetti bridge, or balloon cars and cardboard chairs. Each of these engineering challenges offers a new way to look at the everyday objects surrounding us, and how each of them relies on clever design or engineering principles to work.
 

Some questions to ask yourself after you’ve tried this activity:


Q: Was your design a success? If yes, why do you think your structure succeeded? If it failed, what would you do differently next time?

Q: Have a look at some of the bridges near your house and research their types of structure. Are they large or small? Do they carry heavy loads or are they solely for foot traffic? How do you think their use has impacted their design?

Q: Take a look at some famous bridges from around the world; the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If bridges are designed to carry weight at the bottom of their structure, why do these bridges have metal structures above ground level? How does this help the bridge maintain stability?
 
If you’ve tried this STEAM activity, we’d love to see the results. Message us on our Facebook page, MLC Kew.
 

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