STEM Challenge Bridges with Straws and Paperclips

Rated 4.9 out of 5, based on 140 reviews
140 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Resource Type
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36 pages
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Can you build a bridge using only a few supplies and have it hold weight? This STEM activity is highly engaging and full of problems to solve, Students love this easy-prep project and you will, too!

Please note: This challenge is available in money-saving bundles!

What is the challenge?

This STEM activity is a building experience. Students have specific supplies and must construct a bridge that will support weight.

What is your prep?

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes paper clips, straws, toothpicks, index cards, scissors, and weights (like pennies).

The package includes:

  • step-by-step instructions with embedded tips
  • materials list and advance preparation steps
  • page of possible ways to extend this activity beyond its basic one day use
  • helpful hints will give you lots of useful ideas
  • two pages of actual photos of bridges being built
  • And, there is more! There is a second version of this bridge. Materials are slightly different. The includes directions, materials, photos, and more!
  • scoring rubric
  • editable forms

This STEM challenge is a terrific way to get kids engaged with hands-on work! The critical thinking and teamwork are amazing!

You might also like these STEM sets that are about bridges. These can be purchased separately:

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


You might also enjoy these STEM Products:


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Total Pages
36 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
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.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
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.


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