Do Try This At Home | Spaghetti Bridges

Build a bridge from spaghetti and test it to breaking point!

Welcome back to Do Try This At Home - our series of super-fun weekly science activities.

Our building is closed right now, but that doesn't mean we can't do some science at home.

This week, we are going to be building bridges!

Where

At home

Who for

Families




You will need

1. Spaghetti - or something similar to be your beams. We used linguine but it doesn't even need to be pasta. Try pencils, toothpicks - be as creative as you need to be!

2. Paper

3. Something to stick it all together, like glue. We used a glue stick but you could use Blutack or even marshmallows

4. Sellotape - to bundle the spaghetti sticks. You could also use rubber bands

5. A bowl or a bin to keep spare broken bits of spaghetti

Bridges

Bristol's name comes from the Old English word Brycgstow which means 'place at the bridge'.

Bristol is famous for its Suspension Bridge, but the reference to bridges in Bristol's name probably comes from old bridges scattered up and down the Avon and the River Frome.

Bristol has plenty to offer, bridge wise, including these four types of bridge.

Can you match these descriptions to the Bristol Bridges?

Beam Bridge

Truss BridgeArch BridgeSuspension Bridge
The bridge is made of a long flat beam.The beam is made stronger with beams in triangular shapes called 'trusses'.Arch shapes are very strong because they distribute the load to the ends of the bridge.The beam of the bridge hangs off a long cable, suspended from towers at each end.

 

Instructions

Let's build a bridge!

The method we used seems to work quite well:

1. Draw the design on paper. We found the best way was to make a 'net' of the bridge. This has two sides joined by the floor

2. Cut out your design. We left tabs on the top and bottom to add cross-beams

3. Stick the spaghetti on. Bundles of 4-6 spaghetti pieces work well for the long beams

4. Add trusses to make your bridge stronger - these are the diagonal beams

5. Join the sides together with cross-beams

Top Tips

  • Add beams across the floor to increase the strength
  • Bundles of spaghetti are a lot stronger than individual pieces
  • Diagonal pieces can stop your bridge from falling over!

Test your bridge

Do you want to test your bridge?

What's the heaviest thing your bridge can hold up? A toy? A tin of beans? Maybe a bag of sugar?

And if you want an extra challenge, see how big you can make the gap.

Henry aged 10 asked us:

Is lego so strong you can build a bridge with it?

Is there anything else you could use in your house to build bridges? Why not have a go?

 

Share your experiment

Let us know how you got on on our social media!

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And if you enjoyed this activity, why not try our others in this series?

 

Top image credit: Paul Blakemore