• Dry Spaghetti (thin wooden dowelling rods or straws)
  • Marshmallows (playdough or modelling clay)
  • Thin Cardboard (for extension)
  • Small toy cars (for extension)
  • Pens / pencils (for extension)
  • Paper (for extension)

Learning Outcomes:

Science – Working Scientifically

  • Asking relevant questions
  • Making observations and measurements
  • Reporting findings

Design and Technology

  • Evaluate ideas and consider the views of others to improve their work
  • Apply understanding of how to strengthen complex structures

English – Spoken Language

  • Listen and respond appropriately
  • Ask relevant questions
  • Give well-structured descriptions and explanations


  1. Create teams of 4 to 6 children
  2. Provide each team with the same amount of resources
  3. Explain that each team must work together to build a bridge using only the resources they have been given.
  4. Set a time in which the bridge should be completed
  5. At the end of the given time give each group time to describe their bridge, the process they used to construct the bridge and the difficulties they faced. How would they approach the activity differently if they were to do it again?
  6. Encourage critical evaluation from teams of both their own bridges and those of other teams.

Extension Ideas:

  • Weight bearing bridges – once the bridge is completed can it bear weight? Provide a thin sheet of cardboard to place across the bridge. How many small cars can be placed on the bridge before it shows signs of collapse? How can the structure be made more stable?
  • Spread the activity over two sessions by introducing a planning phase for the bridge. Work with small amount of the resources to explore the different shapes that can be made and how these affect stability of the bridges. Planning can be recorded in writing, pictures, or as photographs taken of the different stages of experimentation.
  • Provide each team with a specific task that their bridge must achieve. For example, the bridge must be at least 5cm from the table at one point in its span, or the bridge must be at least X cms long / wide.

Top Tips:

  • Check for allergies before using spaghetti and marshmallows. Where needed they can be replaced with dowelling or straws and modelling clay. These replacements are also good for children who may need additional support or who find the spaghetti too brittle to work with.
  • Have plenty of spaghetti on hand
  • Leave plenty of time to tidy up at the end of the activity

Science Curriculum Resources: