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Division: A- Elementary

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry

Event Rules and Score Sheets: See 2023 Division A Rule Manual

Clarifications:  Any glue used should be non-toxic. 


This is building event. Prior to the competition, teams will design and build a pasta bridge capable of supporting a load of up to 10 kg. Specific requirements are outlined clearly in the official rules.


Teams must bring a bridge and safety glasses.


  1. The best structural efficiency (highest number) wins, determined by the following equation:
    Structural Efficiency = Load Supported (grams) ÷ Mass of Bridge (grams)
  2. Bridges that hold more than 10 kg will be scored using 10 kg (10,000 g) as the maximum Load Supported.
  3. Bridges will be scored in 2 tiers:
    1. Tier 1: Bridges with no violations  
    2. Tier 2: Bridges with construction violations
    3. Bridges that cannot be tested for any reason (e.g. cannot accommodate the loading block or team does not have proper eye protection) will be given participation points only.

Ties will be broken in favor of the team with the lighter bridge.

Common Mistakes:

It is not the goal to build a bridge that you can walk across – efficiency wins!  Many winning bridges will break during testing, but because they are very light, their efficiency is better than the super-strong very heavy lasagna monstrosity bridges.


  1. Hot glue dries/hardens quicker.
  2. Triangles are a construction engineer’s best friend.
  3. Make a full-size pattern of your bridge. Build bridge on pattern. Be exact!
  4. “Spot” glue and don’t add excessive adhesive weight.
  5. Joints should be “overlaid” not “butted”.
  6. Cut off excess pasta and glue after assembly.
  7. Use bridge design software. Search the web for other ideas and designs.
  8. Build and test A LOT. Each iteration will get better. Design, test, and refine.
  9. A blowdryer is a great way to get rid of the ‘wispies’ of glue after it is dry.

Event Resources:

How To Build a Pasta Bridge
Model Bridge Design
PBS NOVA – Types of Bridges game
Hooda Math – Bridge building computer games
PBS Newton’s Apple – Video on building and testing different types of bridges
Elevation Template
Support Plan