Lesson: Spaghetti Bridge Challenge

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

Using uncooked spaghetti and Elmer's glue, YWBAT build a bridge that spans 40cm and can support the weight of (to be determined by teacher).

Lesson Plan

This lesson sets out to test students' ability to construct a bridge that can support a predetermined weight.  Students will need:

 

-Half of the contents of a spaghetti box (per group of 2-3 students)

-Elmer's glue dispenser (1 per group)

 

Day 1:  Students should be given ample time to design a bridge and draw blueprints.

 

Days 2-3 or 4: Students should construct their bridge

 

Final day: Test the bridges

 

Tips for implementing lesson:

 

Designate an area for students to dry their bridges.  Two large folding tables in the back of the room should be good. 

 

Groups of 2-3 students is recommended

 

On test day have several desks separated at 40cm ready to go.  Then have several groups set up their bridges to test them.  This will speed the testing process up.

 

Have a garbage can ready to place the broken bridges in

 

Have rubrics ready to go

 

Do not allow students to trade or borrow glue; these are the constraints on the challenge.  Constraints are meant to add a degree of difficulty to promote their trouble-shooting skill development.  Struggling to solve the challenge is part of the learning process in engineering and design activities!

 

Cleaning up glue can take some time, so allocate enough time at the end of class to wipe down desks and sweep up spaghetti pieces

Lesson Resources

Spaghetti Bridge video from youtube
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Spaghetti Bridge Challenge Rubric   Activity
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