STEM Straw Bridges

Activity for ages 5 to 8.

Science Technology Engineering and Math {STEM} activities are fun ways to teach kids how things work. These straw bridges take just a few minutes to prep but will keep young engineers learning for hours. Who can build the strongest bridge?

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Kid-Friendly Ways to Spark Creativity {Playdough to Plato}

Building Bridges

To give the kids a strong introduction to bridge design, we started our activity by reading Carol Johmann’s “Bridges” together as a class.

Then we talked about five popular types of bridges: arch, beam, suspension, cable-stay and truss. As we reviewed the characteristics of each one, I drew a simple anchor chart kids could refer to when they were designing their bridges later.

Great STEM anchor chart for a bridge engineering project.

Then, I placed students into teams of three or four and gave each group a tray of supplies:

  • Tape
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips
  • Straws

Straw bridge STEM project for kids.

Their task was simple: build a bridge that was strong enough to hold a plastic cup filled with 100 pennies.

Kid-Friendly Ways to Spark Creativity {Playdough to Plato}

They could cut the straws to any length but their bridges had to sit at least one inch off the table.

Some teams succeeded and some failed but, either way, it was impressive to watch their problem solving and teamwork. They loved observing what worked for other groups and then incorporating it into their own designs.

Printable STEM Challenges

Fill your STEM center with our HUGE collection of STEM challenge packs! Build famous landmarks with LEGOS, use toothpicks and playdough to make 2D and 3D shapes and so much more!



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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!

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