STEM Challenge Bridges with Index Cards

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • Zip
27 pages
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  1. Can you build a bridge with only a few supplies? Yes, you can! My students love building bridges as much as towers. We push tables close together to make the gap we are bridging and set to work with simple materials and one goal in mind. Build a bridge that will cross the gap and work! Please note:
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Building bridges takes some engineering! This simple challenge will turn out to be more challenging than it appears. Kids will plan and improve as they go and cheer when their structure works! Best news of all - this challenge uses one material!

This lesson is available in money-saving bundles!

What is the challenge?

The STEM challenge with this package is a bridge-building experience. Students will experiment briefly with supplies to get an idea of how the materials work. For this activity, students are building a platform type bridge. It does not have to span an opening gap. Rather this is a task that encourages kids to think of new ways to use materials. I called it a bridge during our discussions with the understanding that a bridge usually spans a gap. However, a platform bridge can do just that! Examples of platform bridges: Walking decks that cover a marsh or bog, backyard decks, and platforms that reach over a stream in your yard. Best of all the materials are simple: index cards. That’s all!

What is your prep?

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes index cards and weights (like pennies).

The package includes:

  • step-by-step instructions with many hints along the way.
  • materials list and advance preparation steps
  • possible ways to extend this activity beyond its basic one day use.
  • hints embedded within the teacher's guide
  • actual photos of student work
  • Lab sheets with sample answers
  • scoring rubrics
  • editable forms

STEM Challenges are a great way to get your students involved in their learning! Try this great package- but be prepared! Your students will love it!

You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges about bridges:

NOTE: All three bridge challenges can be purchased in money-saving bundles:


You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges:


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Total Pages
27 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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