Build A Bridge - DuPage Children's Museum | STEM Labs

Build A Bridge

Design, build, and test the strength of your own structure! This two-session long lab encourages young engineers to tackle practical problems with imaginative solutions, creating fantastically functional bridges.



To build a bridge that is 12 inches long and can hold the weight of 100 pennies. 


Student Activity:

First Session: Students will be introduced to the concept of engineering as problem solving. Videos of various bridges will be shared. Students will draw, plan, and design for the bridge they will build and then build their bridge with tape and straws. There will be a time limit so students can test the strength of their bridges. Students will discuss how their design worked and share ideas for improvement. Assignment for the next session is to build a new and improved bridge. 

Second Session: Students will share the design of the second bridge before testing it. They will then compare and review characteristics of successful bridges. Next, they will engage in a discussion about the Engineering Design Cycle and how to organize thoughts around problem solving. 


NGSS Connections:

Science and Engineering Practices (SEP): Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Designing Solutions

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI): PS2.C: Stability and Instability in Physical Systems

Cross Cutting Concept (CCC): Structure and Function


Materials per student:

  • 50 Straws
  • Tape
  • Small Plastic Cup
  • 100 Pennies (or Item of Similar Weight)


More Information


2 sessions, 60 minutes each



Grades 3 – 5: In-person or Virtual


Additional Questions?

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Cost per Classroom (up to 30 students)

  • Virtual – $200
  • In-Person
    • At DCM* – $200
    • In Your Classroom – $300
      (additional cost for schools greater than 20 miles from DCM)

* Include a Field Trip with your STEM with DCM Lab!
An additional $7.50 per student


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