STEM Straw Bridges

Science Technology Engineering and Math {STEM} activities are fun ways to teach kids how things work. This straw bridge activity takes just a few minutes to prep but will keep young engineers learning for hours.

Who can build the strongest bridge?  Find out and then hop over to our shop to grab our Epic STEM Challenges Bundle!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Building Straw 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 Epic STEM Challenges Bundle! Kids will have measurement challenges, build with LEGOS and so much more!

Our members get MORE!

Would you like 24/7 unlimited access to all of Playdough to Plato’s math and literacy centers, STEM challenges and digital games including hundreds of exclusive printables you can’t find anywhere else? Check out The Plato Pack!


  1. TechyKids - Canada

    STEM activities like these are perfect for helping kids develop and enhance problem solving skills as well as logical thinking. Thanks for sharing these ideas, I am sure kids will enjoy it!

    • Audrey

      YAY! We are so happy to hear that! Fingers crossed that your kids love it!

      Kaylee // Playdough to Plato Team

  2. J.b

    do you have any types of bridges with only 15 straws?



  1. Some Easy DIY STEM Processing at Home - […] STEM Project Straw Bridges […]
  2. STEM Straw Bridges - Playdough To Plato - Education subject - […] Ann S annsylviaarend schön Bridges. Science Technology Engineering and Math {STEM} activities are a fun way to teach kids…
  3. Social Skills Group – Irish Primary Teacher - […] Straw bridges […]
  4. STEM Straw Bridges - Stem Education - […] Bridges. Science Technology Engineering and Math {STEM} activities are a fun way to teach kids how things work. Great…
  5. Homemade Toy Ideas For Kids - Kids Art & Craft - […] Image Source/Tutorial: Playdough To Plato […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

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!

This only happens twice a year! Join The Reading Roadmap now.