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Island 4 Zometools-Building Bridges

Mechanics and Structures

Learn about different types of bridges and how they are engineered for strength. Then students can test their knowledge with a bridge they design and test.


Zometools-Building Bridges

Can You Build The Bridge?

The city is expanding its roadways and needs to upgrade an existing river bridge to manage heavier vehicle traffic. The bridge was originally built only for bikers and pedestrians, so the structure is too weak to support heavier cars. The city wants to save money by adding onto the existing bridge, and they hire you for the job.

The challenge is to add structural pieces to the city's pedestrian beam bridge so that it can hold vehicle traffic as well. It needs to be safe enough to support the expected changes in traffic as the road continues to be updated. Once students gain these skills, they will be ready for the city's next challenge - rebuilding a highway bridge from the ground up.

How To Use Zometools

The long thin pieces are called struts. The struts come in different colors, different sizes, and with three different shapes on the ends. The blue has a rectangle shape, the yellow has a triangle, and the red has a pentagon. 

The other pieces are white and spherically shaped. These are called “balls” or nodes. They have rectangular, triangular, and pentagonal holes so students can put the correct shape on the strut into the correct hole on the ball.

Remember These Rules:

  • If it fits, it fits without bending

  • Take it apart, don't break it apart.

  • Put it back in the box. Keep your parts organized and they will last for a long, long time.

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