How to Make a Suspension Bridge Model

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to Make a Suspension Bridge Model
Golden Gate suspension bridge. (Bridge image by Cooltails from Fotolia.com)

A suspension bridge suspends the roadway with cables. The cables are strung from towers and attached to anchors on dry land and then to the bridge deck. This type of bridge is light and flexible, making it ideal for bridging long spans. Famous suspension bridges such as the Golden Gate in San Francisco and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York are common tourist attractions.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Plywood square – 1-foot square
  • Duplo blocks – 12 blocks
  • Measuring tape
  • 6 Straws
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • String – 4-feet long
  • Black marker
  • 2 paper clips

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Make two square blocks from the duplo blocks. Lay two blocks together with the long sides touching. Lay two more blocks perpendicular across and press together. Lay two additional blocks perpendicular across the second layer and press in place. Repeat the process with the other six duplo bocks. Place each block on the plywood square about 7-inches apart. Tape in place. These are the anchors for the towers of the bridge.

  2. 2

    Make the towers with the straws. Cut two pieces 1 ¼-inch long out of one of the straws. Place the short straw piece vertically between two standard straws so the bottoms of all three are lined up horizontally. Tape the three straws together. Tape the tops of the two straws together to create a triangle shape. Repeat this process for the second tower. Tape the first tower to the side of the duplo square that is closest to the other duplo square. Repeat with the other tower so they are facing each other across the plywood square.

  3. 3

    Measure 4-feet of string and cut. Fold the string in half to find the centre of the length of string. Mark the centre with a black marker. Lay the string on a flat surface with the centre visible. Lay a new straw across the string over the mark identifying the centre of the string. Tie the string around the straw so the straw is tied in the middle of the string.

  4. 4

    Place the straw with the string tied to it between the bridge towers with each end of the straw resting on the duplo cubes. Tape the ends of the straw in place. Pass one end of the string over one tower and the other end of the string over the other tower. Tie each end to a paper clip. Lay the paper clips flat on the plywood and slide them back until the string is pulled tight. Tape the paper clips in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Hang a weight from the centre of the straw to illustrate the strength of the bridge.

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