Handson Activity: Spaghetti Bridge
Civil engineers design structures such as buildings, dams, highways and bridges. Student teams explore the field of engineering by making bridges using spaghetti as their primary building material. Then they test their bridges to see how much weight they can carry before breaking.

Grade Level: 7 (68) 
Group Size: Not defined 
Time Required: 120 minutes

Activity Dependency : None 
Expendable Cost Per Group
:
US$ 1
This is the cost for dry spaghetti noodles; all other materials are readily avaliable in most classrooms or households.

Keywords: 

My Rating: Avg Rating: Not Yet Rated. 
 Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Math
 4. Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots,
histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) [2010] ...more
 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
 C. Many inventions and innovations have evolved using slow and methodical processes of
tests and refinements.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 E. Design is a creative planning process that leads to useful products and systems.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 F. There is no perfect design.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 G. Requirements for design are made up of criteria and constraints. (Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 F. Design involves a set of steps, which can be performed in different sequences and
repeated as needed.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 H. Modeling, testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical
solutions. (Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 H. Apply a design process to solve problems in and beyond the laboratoryclassroom.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 J. Make twodimensional and threedimensional representations of the designed solution.
(Grades 6  8) [2000] ...more
 Massachusetts: Science
 2.5 Explain how such design features as size, shape, weight, function, and cost limitations would affect the construction of a given prototype. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 2.2 Demonstrate methods of representing solutions to a design problem, e.g., sketches, orthographic projections, multiview drawings. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 1.2 Identify and explain appropriate measuring tools, hand tools, and power tools used to hold, lift, carry, fasten, and separate, and explain their safe and proper use. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 1.3 Identify and explain the safe and proper use of measuring tools, hand tools, and machines (e.g., band saw, drill press, sanders, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, screws, nails, and other mechanical fasteners) needed to construct a prototype of an engineering design. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 2.1 Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process, i.e., identify the need or problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, select the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 5.2 Identify and describe three major types of bridges (e.g., arch, beam, and suspension) and their appropriate uses (e.g., site, span, resources, and load). (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 1.1 Given a design task, identify appropriate materials (e.g., wood, paper, plastic, aggregates, ceramics, metals, solvents, adhesives) based on specific properties and characteristics (e.g., weight, strength, hardness, and flexibility). (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 5.1 Describe and explain parts of a structure, e.g., foundation, flooring, decking, wall, roofing systems. (Grades 6  8) [2001] ...more
 Next Generation Science Standards: Science
 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6  8) [2013] ...more
 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (Grades 6  8) [2013] ...more
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Worcester Polytechnic Institute
K12 Outreach Office, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Last Modified: September 19, 2014 