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Building Straw Bridges - STEM Learning Activity

Need a fun learning activity for your kids? We're making a version of our straw bridge exercise available for download to help parents have fun teaching their kids about engineering. With many of our kids still online learning, here's another idea for when you're learning at home. All you need are some straws, some tape, and some time. 

Many types of engineers, scientists, and technicians work together to design and build bridges.

  • Traffic Engineer: studies traffic patterns, traffic volumes, and roadway use to design safe and efficient roadway systems for moving people and products.
  • Roadway/Highway Engineer: designs the roadway geometry and traffic speed limits to ensure safe travel routes for the public.
  • Hydraulic Engineer: designs the drainage systems to remove storm water from a bridge and studies stream and river levels to ensure high water levels pass underneath the bridge.
  • Environmental Engineer: ensures the project is designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding natural environment.
  • Materials Scientist: studies and tests construction materials that are used to build the roadway and bridge.
  • Geotechnical Engineer: studies and tests the soil conditions on a project to design the proper foundations.
  • CAD Technician: uses specialized computer modeling software to create drawings of all components of the project.
  • Structural/Bridge Engineer: designs the bridge to resist the loads applied to the structure by the component weights, traffic, wind, water, and earthquake.

All these different people work together to create roadways and bridges, and all these different people use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in their work. For this exercise, we’ll focus on the role of the Structural/Bridge Engineer.

Please click on the image below for a copy of M&M's Straw Bridge Workbook and share your images with us on social media!