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Paper Bridge


your results

Sent in by:
Kimberly of BC

Can you make a paper bridge that can support 100 pennies?

Materials Needed

  • piece of 8 1/2" x 11" paper
  • 6 books
  • 100 pennies
  • ruler



  1. Do you think that by using just one piece of paper, you can make a bridge that holds a lot of pennies?
  2. Make two stacks of books of equal height. Put them 6 inches apart.
  3. Make a bridge by putting a sheet of paper across the books.
  4. Put some pennies on the bridge. How many pennies can the bridge support before it collapses? What happens if the pennies are in the center of the bridge or spread across the bridge?
  5. How can you make the bridge stronger? Try bending, folding, or tearing the paper.
  6. Test your bridge again by adding pennies one at a time. How many pennies can your bridge support?
  7. Can you change the design of your bridge to support more pennies?

How can you make a weak material like paper strong enough to support a load of pennies? One way is to change its shape, like rolling it in a tube, crumpling it, or folding it. The ZOOM cast made a strong bridge by folding the paper like a fan. How did you make a strong bridge? Try it out and be sure to send us your results.

Some of your Results

Jayant, age 7 of Mississauga, AR wrote:
I tried to build a truss bridge out of paper because I heard that they were the strongest type of bridge. my brigde held up 564 pennies

Mariah and Kalie, age 9 of Oshkosh, WI wrote:
We experiment a lot we worked hard are and we got 26 then 34 then 117.

Nikita, age 12 of Staffordshire, UK wrote:
It diddnt work all of the pennies fell off. And the paper ripped.

Katie, age 12 of Staffordshire, UK wrote:
It just fel over and broke. All of the pennies fell off and the paper ripped.

Siobhan, age 11 of White Plains, NY wrote:
I tried a zig-zag pattern and it didn't work. but it was a cool experiment to try.

Emily and Lulu of Crofton, MD wrote:
I just put a paper pole in the middle of the sheet to support the middle. I used silly bandz instead of pennys. When I spread out the silly bandz I put 50 silly bandz on and it hold it all. Then I put all of the silly bandz in the middle and they all fell down. It was very fun to do on a hot day like when I did it. I also put the books 4 inches high. it worked the best for me!

Beckett of MD wrote:
The very first thing I did was put the flat piece of paper down. It bent right in half. Then I folded it in half. It collapsed again. Then I put one more fold in it and it almost worked. Then I made it in half and make it in half again and folded the sides up. It held 150 pennies and lego man!

Aman, age 11 of CA wrote:
when I tried to do the paper bridge it was cool.

Desiraye, age 11 of Gaffney, SC wrote:
I loved it that was so fun it held 200 pennies!

Warren, age 12 of Bridgewater, NJ wrote:
The bridge worked very well for me and it held 1056 pennies!

Cj of Youngstown, OH wrote:
I did it at school and mine held about 365.

Kelly, age 10 of Hicksville, NY wrote:
I worked great it held 102 pennies.

Katherine, age 8 of London wrote:
i first tried a round tube and I put a 2p coin on but it fell off so I tried another way by folding it in to a square tube and then I put 2p pennys on and it held 25 so I wish you tri that way.

Michael, age 16 of Scottshill, TN wrote:
What I did was take a piece of paper and2 books it can be a science or math if u want to do so 1st I leveled out the books and made them look like a ramp and then I took the construction paper and made a bridge sterdy enough too hold 20 packs of ramen noodles.

Matthew, age 16 of San Ramon, CA wrote:
Muby brubidgube hubeld 183 pubennubiubes.

Katherine, age 7 of Lowell, MA wrote:
At first it could only hold 28. Then it could hold 59. But the third time it still couldn't hold 100, it could only hold 88. But the fouth time it could hold 110!

Zaria, age 11 of Tampa, FL wrote:
at first I only could hold 234 but then I did it again and it holded 630 this is a good thing to get your brain to work mines did its great for science project

Gavin, age 7 of Rockville, MD wrote:
I folded it 11 times it held 128!

Nick, age 13 of Marshall, WI wrote:
well when I did this I was amased how many penny one bridge could hold after I modifid it, the first plan one heald 3 so I added a saporter and it heald 13 so I thought I could git more so I crumpled it um and then it heald amazingly 412!!!

Polip, age 10 of Omaha, NE wrote:
I fanned out the papaer and I did really good. I got 953 pennies.

Christopher, age 10 of Wauwatosa, WI wrote:
Without folding the paper it held 2 pennies, the paper with 1 fold held 7 pennies, the paper with 3 folds held 28 pennies, the paper with 5 folds held 72 pennies, the paper with 9 folds held 120 pennies. It was fun. The more you fold the paper the more pennies can be held on the bridge.

Stephanie, age 11 of Hartford wrote:
I used 19 pennes!

Joel, age 8 of Saskatoon, SK wrote:
When I folded it the first time it held 168 pennies then I tried it again it held 257 pennies. You should try this because it is educational and terrific fun.

Amanda, age 8 of Enfield, CT wrote:
My bridge could hold 121 pennies! I added more till ti fell!

Joshua, age 8 of Carbonear wrote:
When I made it in zig-zags it only hold 1 penny, but I when made a loop it hold 100 pennies!

Jazmine, age 12 of Lithonia, GA wrote:
I made the bridge stronger by folding the paper. The paper bridge holded 98 pennies. I loved doing that project.

Diamond, age 11 of Wilson, NC wrote:
The first time I tried the experiment it didn't do so well, I only got 89 pennies, but the second time I did much better I got 123 pennies.

Jaclyn & Casey, age 13 of Athens, WV wrote:
Our first time without bending the paper we had 106 pennies on the paper before they fell. We rolled the paper up into a scroll and put 10 pennies on each end. We just started placing the pennies inside. Our final total was 540 pennies. The scroll was full so we had to take the pennies put by the time we got to 540 pennies. If there would have been more room we could have gotten more pennies in the scroll.

Addie, age 9 of Ann Arbor, MI wrote:
Well, when I made the paper bridge, it kept falling. Then, I got papers and rolled them up, and they supported the bridge. After that, I decided I should put weight on it to see what it could hold. I first put a little rock. The bridge fell down a little. Then I tried a pen-a pen that you would use everyday. It stayed. Then I put some Hot Tamales (Candy) and it stayed, but tilted a little, too. Now, I know that if I want to make a bridge, it would be better to make it out of something else.

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