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Loughborough Church of England

Primary School

"Together in God's grace, may we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly"

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Bridge Building

In Science we have been busy learning about forces, especially tension and compression, and how this affects bridges.


We have looked at different types of bridges and at how the design of the bridge determines what part of the bridge takes the compression before it dissipates into the ground and what part receives the tension force.


We have also looked at the different engineers who built some of the world's most famous bridges. 


As a class we built some bridges, using a selection of different materials.

Our first bridges were made with straws. Afterwards we added weights, in the form of counters, to see how strong they were. 


We used different materials like wood, Lego and lollipop sticks for our next attempt. These took weights up to 4kg.


Five of us were then chosen to represent the school in the 3M Canyon Crossing Challenge.

For our Canyon Crossing entry we decided to go with a suspension bridge because, out of all our testing, we found that it was the strongest because of the extra support given from the cables, the towers and anchorage (the towers taking the compression and the cables taking the tension). We thought we would give our bridge a local theme name and call it 'The Carillion Bridge' after the Carillon and War Memorial in Queens Park.


After doing lots of experiments we decided to make the deck out of wood, with a box support, to give extra strength; the towers out of thin card, painted to look like Loughborough Carillon and the cables using wool. 

We took our finished bridge to 3M where it was weighed by the judges and then weights were hung from it, up to 16kg, so the judges could work out the weight to strength ratio. We gave a presentation, telling the judges what we had learnt about bridges, the experiments that we made and how we built our bridge.

The following week we were informed that our bridge had got through to the final which is being held on the 23rd June.

The 3M Canyon Crossing Challenge