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Strongest Shapes

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Using index cards and only one shape in your design, build a bridge that can support the weight of one die-cast toy car
across an 8-inch span.

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  • Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
    Participants Learned from This Activity 
    Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
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Related Programming Resources

Related Links Collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, “Galloping Gertie”
Simple Solutions Solve Big Problems — Building a Footbridge. Short Interview with Maria Gibbs
Simple Solutions Solve Big Problems - Building a Footbridge. Long interview with Maria Gibbs
Overnight Bridge Replacement
Originating Source Dream Big
American Society of Civil Engineers
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Brooklyn Bridge!
Twenty-one Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince
The World's Most Amazing Bridges by Michael Hurley
Bridges! Amazing Structures to Design, Build, and Test
Fabulous Bridges by Ian Graham
A Book of Bridges: Here to There and Me to You by Cheryl Keely
Pop's Bridge by Eve Bunting
Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem by Gloria Whelan
Bridges: An Introduction to Ten Great Bridges and Their Designers by Didier Cornille
The Science of a Bridge Collapse by Nikole Brooks Bethea
Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers
Engineered!: Engineering Design at Work
Engineer Academy, by Steve Martin and Nastia Sleptsova

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
11/26/2017

I think I used weak index cards

I thought index cards were pretty uniform, but found that even our arch shape was pretty floppy with the ones I had, and as we worked with them, I realized they felt a little thinner than I'm used to. Kids had a good time beefing up the tape and found the shapes held up better when taped into groups, but we never wound up with a highly functional bridge. I also found that 10+ was probably too few cards for any kids. Luckily, they're cheap, so have lots of them! Kids had a fun time with the activity.

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Strongest Shapes

Strongest Shapes

Using index cards and only one shape in your design, build a bridge that can support the weight of one die-cast toy car
across an 8-inch span.