Bridges span highways, canyons and rivers. A bridge might be made in a beam style, which, in simple form, consists of wooden planks laid across two side supports over a small stream. A bridge might also be an awe-inspiring complex suspension of metal and cables over a large canyon, valley or river. Popsicle sticks can be used to create models of different types of bridges from beam and arch to suspension and cantilever.
Choose A Type of Bridge
There are several entirely different types of bridges. The beam style has two supports with a span across them. Plastic step stools use this design. With the use of an arch, the weight distributes down and away from the arch on both sides. Cable and suspension bridges use cables and towers to redistribute weight. The cantilever type of bridge uses counterbalances or weights. "The Free Dictionary" defines the cantilever bridge as, " A bridge formed by two projecting beams or trusses that are joined in the center by a connecting member and are supported on piers and anchored by counterbalancing members." Before starting to make a popsicle stick bridge, choose the type of bridge you wish to build.
Design the Bridge
Once you have decided which style of bridge you wish to build, design your bridge. On paper, create your design and figure out how to translate your design from cement and metal to popsicle sticks and glue. Choose both height and size in relationship to the amount of area you have for the project, such as a counter or table. The dimensions of the bridge model you plan to build help you project, from the size of the sticks, the number of sticks needed to complete the bridge you designed.
To the number of popsicle sticks projected to complete the design, on the list of supplies, add at least 1/3 more. Some sticks may break or you may need more than planned to create a sturdy structure. Add white glue to the list. Use a drop cloth or newspapers under the bridge project as you build to catch drips of glue. You may need weights to hold sticks together as they dry. Gather your supplies before starting the project.
Creating the Work Environment
When creating the bridge, allow a large block of time, or several, to complete the project. White glue does take time to dry. Choose an area without a lot of traffic from the family and use a surface that won't be needed in an hour or two for supper or homework. Lay out the drop cloth. Keep your design and supplies on another table or where they are easily accessible without infringing on the area where you build the bridge. Use the bridge as a class or family project.
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