Paper Bridges

Can you make a paper bridge that that can support your pencil box?


The bridge is 20 cm wide

The space below the bridge must be clear to allow boats to pass.

The sides of your bridge will rest on two supports and cannot be taped or attached to the supports.


  • Half a sheet of newspaper

  • Two piles of books to act as supports

  • Pencil box or other weights

  • Ruler

What to do

1. Discuss possible ideas with your partners before you start building. What can you do to the paper to make it stronger? When you have decided on a design, construct your bridge. 

2. Make two stacks of books of equal height. Put them 20 cm apart. Place your bridge across the books.  

3. To test your bridge load it with weights one at a time, until it collapses. Record how much weight your bridge supported.

4. What do you think made your bridge stronger than a plain unfolded paper?

5. Draw your bridge

6. Is there a difference in the load your bridge can hold if you put the load in the center of the bridge compared to spreading it out along the bridge? Make a prediction and test it.

7. Was the bridge as strong as you thought it would be? Where did it fail?

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