Paper Bridges




Name of Activity

Paper Bridges


Amanda Rock and Daniella DiPaola


bridges, paper, civil



Grade Level

3, 4, 5


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

Build a bridge out of paper and tape that can cross a one foot span between desks and support as many books as possible. You can modify the restraints to say that it must be free standing or can be taped to the desks, make it as tall as possible, restrict the amount of materials that can be used.

Lesson Objectives:

Introduction to sturdy structures and Civil Engineering. You can talk about force and gravity, what shapes are stronger than others, how a piece of paper is stronger in tension than compression, how you can modify the paper to make it stronger.

Materials Needed:

Paper/Newspaper, tape

Preparation and Set Up:

Make a worksheet where students have a place to make an initial design.


1. Talk about learning objectives and what a Civil Engineer does. 2. Pass out worksheets and have students draw their design alone or with their partner. 3. Pass out paper and tape once students have explained their design to you. 4. Lets students build for a while and then test it. 5. If they are successful quickly make modifications like who can make the tallest bridge or give them a little more material to make a stronger bridge.


Limit amount of material students can use.

Build the tallest bridge.

Build a bridge that does not need to be taped to the desk.

Introduce other material options.

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