Gumdrop bridges can be a fun way for young kids to learn about Engineers. You can not go an entire day without using something that a Civil Engineer has designed or had a part in. Civil Engineers design treatment plants to clean the water you drink, they design roads, highways, and bridges.
Bridges have lots of different shapes and sizes. What do you think is stronger, a square or a triangle? (Triangle) (Note: build just a rectangle and a triangle using toothpicks and gumdrops, then try to squash them using your fingers.)
All of you get to be engineers now and build your own bridges! Everyone has a bag full of gumdrops and toothpicks and a plan sheet. The best way to start is to build one side of your bridge. Each circle represents a gumdrop and each line is a toothpick. It is just like connecting the dots. If you build the two sides first then the only thing left to do is to connect the two sides together with more toothpicks. The number of toothpicks and gumdrops are on the plan sheets below. Also, spice drop are cheaper than gumdrops and they work the same if you are on a budget.
Once you have your bridge built, it is time to test it! Put two chairs close together so that your bridge will span the gap and put small books on top of it. Count each book as you put them on and see who can build the strongest bridge! Try different designs to see if you can build it stronger. Also if you allow the gumdrops to set out for a day or two they will become much stronger.
Be creative! Design whatever you want with your left over gumdrops!
Building Plan Sheets
Please let me know if your children or students enjoyed making these or if you have any suggestions.