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Why don’t bridges collapse in the middle?

This project investigates two forces that make bridges useful to people: normal force and tension. Students first investigate how normal force allows a bridge to support a load. They then observe the additional challenges involved with making a longer bridge. Students explore how tension is used with upward support beams in bridges to create a strong bridge. An optional extra challenge allows students to test the concept in practice, substituting in string for the sturdier Whybricks parts and observing the results.

Build Guides

To do so, students will be required to build the following projects as part of the ‘Why don’t snowboards need wheels?’ lesson set:

  • The simple bridge
  • The canyon
  • The bigger bridge
  • The stronger bridge

Concepts

Use this lesson to guide your students while investigating and exploring the following aspects of physical science and/or engineering:

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