STEM & Maker Activity 17

Spaghetti Bridge
Supplies, instructions, resources, and worksheets are below!

Spaghetti Bridge

Truss Bridge

Project Description
Civil Engineers design and build things in your community such as buildings, roads, and bridges. Civil Engineers make structures that are stable and safe for people to use. In this project, you’ll learn about designing, building, and testing the strength of a bridge using Spaghetti noodles, and then test the bridge for how much weight it can carry before collapsing.

Activity Time
1-2 days
Adult supervision when using Hot Glue Gun and Weights

Supplies Recommended
Investigative Worksheet
1 package of dry spaghetti
Glue gun and pack of glue sticks
Variety of weights from 5 to 50 pounds
Tub or newspapers (to spread out under for easy clean up)
2 tables placed one foot apart
rubber bands
a few sheets of plain printer paper

Learning Objectives
Improve research and investigative skills
Learn design skills
Understand why testing is important for safety

Vocabulary Terms to Understand
Look up each word and write their definition on paper.
truss frame
end post
top chord
bottom chord
truss members
floor beams

Instructional Video:

1. Print the Investigative Worksheet.
2. Watch the Instructional Video above, but don’t copy the bridge in it. Instead, you will create your own design.
3. Use the Internet to investigate different bridge designs and how they are built.
4. Use pencil and plain printer paper to plan a design for building your bridge.
5. After your plan is ready, build your Spaghetti bridge.
6. When completed, put the bridge over two tables that are about 1 foot apart.
7. Draw a chart on the back of your Investigative Worksheet to track how much weight your bridge can handle before collapsing. Start with the smallest weights.

What happens to the bridge when you add more weight to it?
What would you change in your design to make your bridge stronger?

More Resources
Truss Design & Brief History
What are Truss Bridge Designs and How Do They Really Work?
Wikipedia: Truss Bridge
Truss Bridge – Facts and Types of Truss Bridges