Lesson 2: Spaghetti truss bridges

Children create spaghetti truss bridges, learning how different shapes can improve the strength of a structure.

Before the lesson

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Learning objectives

  • To build a spaghetti truss bridge

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose aimed at particular individuals or groups
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion and prototypes
  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials, components and construction materials according to their functional properties and aesthetics
  • Apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event

Differentiation

Pupils needing extra support: Should make simple truss bridges and will need extra support to check that they are being assembled correctly. Work in pairs. They may need to work from a photo of a spaghetti bridge. Provide with premade spaghetti triangles, to allow the children to focus on the building of the bridge structure.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should make a sophisticated bridge from more accurate equilateral triangles, which are securely constructed and assembled with sufficient amounts of tape and glue. If they complete the truss bridge in plenty of time challenge them to suggest methods of further strengthening the bridge and if possible see if they can replicate or develop the bridge design in different materials such as lollipop sticks. Add labels to the photograph or sketch to identify where the bridge had weak points in testing.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding

Vocabulary

Created by:
Vicki Risianova,  
Design & Technology specialist
After 4 years of being a TV and radio presenter, Vicki headed to the secondary classroom where she spent 12 years teaching Design and Technology as well as PE. Working as a subject leader, she ran D&T tournaments and weekly…
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