A bridge building challenge Mrs. Lynch’s third grade class recently undertook demonstrated that a good design can be worth its weight in gold (or in this case, copper-plated zinc)! The challenge? Build a bridge from only two sheets of paper that could hold as many pennies as possible.
First, students studied different types of bridges and support structures like arches and pillars. Then they experimented by building and testing three different styles of bridge. From their tests, the students chose a bridge design to finalize and use in the competitive portion of the challenge. For the competition, the students set up their bridges to span a six-inch gap between two stacks of books, and Mrs. Lynch slowly piled on the pennies until each bridge finally gave out. The class then weighed the pennies to see how much weight it took to collapse the bridge. The strongest bridge handled 3 1/2 pounds!