Tired of hearing the phrase “I’m bored”? Try this simple project that will keep your children occupied. Don’t tell them that it is educational though. The best part is that you don’t have to go out and buy any additional resources.

Build a representation of da Vinci’s Bridge with pencils.

Model of da Vinci Bridge made with pencils

What is the da Vinci Bridge? In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci submitted a proposal to Sultan Bayezid II for a bridge to connect Constantinople (now Istanbul) and neighbouring Galata. Da Vinci did not get the job but MIT researchers recently tested the design for robustness. The bridge would have been made of stone blocks with no paste or other materials holding it together!

Their model remained standing even after the scaffolding was removed. No glue or additional support – it is held together by compression only.

MIT Model

To build your own bridge with pencils, you need

  • 8 pencils with 3 rubber bands on each pencil (2 on the ends and one in the middle)
  • 4 pencils with 2 rubber bands on each pencil (on both ends of the pencil).

Watch the video to see how to place the pencils.

Test the bridge by placing objects of different mass on the top of the bridge. Our bridge supported a maximum of 1kg.

What is the maximum mass your bridge can hold?

If you have more pencils and rubber bands – go bigger!

Have fun and send us your pictures.