Brought to you by Chris Hamlett.

Break a Beam

Materials, and how they are put together, are very important when making a bridge.

Investigate the best way to build a bridge between two supports by making a bridge out of your chosen materials and then put enough weight on it to break it. Then try to make another bridge by either using a different materials or by using the same material and making it differently.

A worksheet for this activity can be downloaded here and there is also an accompanying video.

Equipment needed

  • Bridge building materials (such as spaghetti or Lego bricks)
  • Food cans
  • Holder for weights
  • Weights (pebbles, marbles and coins are good)
  • Mass balance (such as kitchen scales)


 Bruises / impact injuries

Discussion points

  • How strong is a beam of material?
  • How do you test the strength of a beam?
  • Does the strength of a beam depend on the material?
  • Does the strength of a beam depend on how the beam is put together (how the beam is made)?

Curriculum Links

Links to the school curriculum to be added shortly….


Relevant links and pages

  • Join Vivian Tong to learn how to find out how to measure how strong biscuits are by watching her video (~25 mins long)