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Holiday Hodgepodge

DIY Microscope


The month of November is well known for its ability to bring people together which is why we decided to teach our girls about bridges. In our bridge box, steminists explore the fundamentals of engineering bridges from shapes, density, to iterations. From the fundamentals, steminists move on to investigate suspension bridges and their difference in structual integrity from beam bridges. The culmination of these lessons and skills is the building of Warren and Howe Truss bridges.

Experiment Instructional Videos

Research Bridges On The Web!

  • Emily Roebling

    Emily was the first woman field engineer and oversaw completion of the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband became ill with caisson disease. The famous NY bridge was completed in 1883 and Emily was the first to cross the bridge in a carriage (points for style!). Today the bridge bears a dedication to Emily, her husband, and father-in-law. Girl, work!
    Learn about the first female field engineer!

    Galloping Gertie

    On the morning of November 7th, 1940 the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington state began to act strangely. Due to this strange behavior an influx of cars took to the bridge to experience this anomaly first hand. However moments later, this bridge began to gallop, hence the name "Galloping Gertie". But what ultimately led to the demise of this bridge and what have engineers learned from it?
    Why did this bridge collapse?

    8 Record Breaking Bridges

    If you're looking for more information beyond our StemBox videos, we highly recommend checking out this SciShow video! The SciShow is a fun way to get your science hunger fed. In this video, the team explores 8 record breaking bridges around the world.
    Watch the video!

  • 24 of the World's Most Amazing Bridges

    If 8 bridges didn't quite do it for you, it may be that 24 AMAZING bridges is the number you are looking for. CNN has done most of the hard work to find 24 amazing bridges around the world. From San Francisco to Singapore, all of your bridge desires are met here.
    Get your fill of bridges here!

    History of the Golden Gate Bridge

    The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California is arguably one of the most famous bridges in the world since it is believed to be the most photographed in the world. But have you ever wondered how the behemoth of engineering came to be? After plenty of legal battles and planning, this bridge finally came into fruition in 1937 and maintained it's name as the longest bridge in the world until 1981.
    Read more here!

    The World's Longest Bridge

    In the last article about the Golden Gate Bridge, we mentioned that it maintained its status as the longest bridge in the world up until 1981. But which bridge now holds that title? None other than the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge in China. This bridge spans over 100 miles and is used by trains. If you want to know about the longest road bridge for cars and the longest continuous bridge over water, check this article out!
    Find the answers here!

Get this box

The last day to sign up for the Bridge Box was November 15th.

Sign up in time for next month's box!


Steminists in action!

Share your photos with us by using the hashtag #StemBox
with your photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Nothing makes us happier than to see girls having a blast with #science! #stembox #steminism

A photo posted by StemBox (@mystembox) on

Troubleshooting the
Bridge Box

There are several possible reasons for this! First, not all popsicle sticks are created equal. At StemBox we strive to bring you the best in quality, but sometimes wonky popsicle sticks in a pile of thousands can get in the way of that. We recommend when building your bridge to use the straightest popsicle sticks you can find to ensure structural eqauality. Second, make sure you only use a thin layer of glue and clamp for 5-10 minutes. A thin layer dries more quickly and evenly than a thick sludge!

In our experience our Warren Truss bridge was capable of holding 10-15 lbs. The Howe Truss bridge can be harder to measure since the structural strength is entirely dependent on how your build went at home, but we'd recommend starting with a small weight of 1 lb and working your way up to 10 lbs. You can measure these weights with a common kitchen scale or bathroom scale!

We're glad you asked! You can use your imagination and the lessons learned in this box (strength and triangles and suspension bridges) to design a new bridge hybrid, or you can find a new template here!

If your StemBox is missing pieces or you're having other issues, email us!
[email protected]
We are happy to help and will do our best to send you a replacement piece asap!