Leonardo’s Self-Supporting Bridge

by Vicky on May 22, 2012

For our final Spring Spectacular program honoring the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, we taught the kids how to build Leonardo’s self-supporting bridge.

My friend Kim, who is an architect, sent me some great exercises to get the kids thinking about the forces that affect bridges.

Stuart had cut some 2×2 boards into 4′ lengths so we could build a large version of the bridge.  We stacked some large heavy books on top, and the bridge easily held the weight.

Stanwood Hardware had generously donated a box of paint stirring sticks, and we gave the kids sticks and instructions and turned them loose.  They built their own bridges and began modifying them in interesting ways.

Then we folded another paper airplane based on Leonardo’s designs, and this inspired the kids to teach each other a number of other paper airplane designs.

All in all, I think Leonardo would have been pleased.

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