Unplugged Play: STEM Build-a-Bridge Challenge

Bridge Building Popsicle Stick Challenge.  A great STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) activity for students in the classroom or kids at home.

Challenge:  Construct a bridge that spans at least 12 inches and hold one action figure (or whatever toy you have in your home).

Stuck inside for winter?  Too hot?  Too rainy?  Just need a new creative project?  It’s time for a challenge!


1. Glue Gun (craft glue would work as well, we wanted fast drying)
2. 40-50 craft sticks
3. ruler
4. cookie sheet or parchment paper to keep it from sticking to other surfaces

If this the first time your child will be using a glue gun?  Click here for some tips.

Make Predictions – 

Predict what will happen if the bridge cannot handle the weight (it will snap and break).

Test it Out-

Then test the bridge between two chairs that are about 10 inches apart.

You can either test one item and see if the bridge can hold it or you can continue to stack items (books, cards, blocks) until the bridge breaks.

Our Experience-

We didn’t want our bridges to break, so we slowly added heavier items.  Surprisingly they were very sturdy!  The bottom picture (above) shows how many books we piled on top of one of them.  It was fun to see how two children went at it completely different from one another and still worked!

Kristen @ Busy Kids  Happy Mom 

Kristen’s background is in elementary education, crafts and raising boys!  Busy kids are those engaged in fun, practical, and purposeful activities in their daily life.  
Follow Kristen on FacebookPinterest, and Busy Kids Happy Mom.
Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies

Post Footer Subscribe Box

About Kristen

Kristen is a Reading Specialist who currently works with children in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. She is the blogger behind Busy Kids Happy Mom, a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids. Follow Kristen on Facebook, Pinterest, and subscribe for updates.


  1. What a great challenge! I love it!

    My bloggy friend Darci over at STEM Mom blog has a new STEM linky up today and I’m sure your bridge building would be a big hit. If you’d like to add this, here’s the link: http://www.stemmom.org/2013/01/stem-themed-linky-party-1.html

  2. This comes at a perfect time! I bought a million different sized popsicle sticks, skewers and mini sticks for flower projects I had- but discovered I liked thin wire and green sticks better. I was just thinking of what I could do with all these crazy shaped/lengthed sticks!!!!

  3. Erin D was right, I am LOVING this idea. Its only 6:30 in the morning, and my kid has already asked “What are we doing today Mom?” Its the weekend and I was like, “Um, taking a nap?” Umph….. Anyway, this absolutely perfect and its on our to do list…today. Can’t wait!

    Thanks so much for linking up!

    Darci the STEM Mom

  4. Great engineering challenge!. Thanks for linking up at Discover & Explore – we’re featuring you this week: http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/materials-for-building-kids-and-construction



CommentLuv badge