World Culture Activity: Build a Bridge

Build a bridge inspired by the Vasco de Gama bridge in Portugal!

Activity best for children age 3 and up

At San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum we love learning about new cultures from around the world. Today we are continuing to explore Portugal as part of our Roots series.  

The Atlantic Ocean has played  such an important part in Portuguese history, cuisine, songs, and climate. Even today, the ocean has an impact on technology that is being created in Portugal.  Since the Atlantic Ocean has very large and powerful waves, Portugal is using those waves to create electricity to power homes. This new type of energy is called wave power. Have you ever seen large waves at the beach? Even tiny waves can be powerful!

Another remarkable way that Portugal uses technology was the building of the Vasco de Gama bridge. This bridge is the longest bridge in Europe. It is 10 miles long. The bridge has six lanes for traffic and is so long that on cloudy days you can’t see the other end of the bridge! It was named after the Portuguese naval explorer Vasco de Gama who found a sea route from Europe to India. 

Would you like to try and build a bridge? Would your bridge be long or short? It is time to become  engineers and try our hand at bridge building!

Materials You’ll Need:


Recycled Materials like cardboard rolls, boxes, etc.

Popsicle sticks

Pipe cleaners

Optional: tape


Gather all the materials that you would like to use to build a bridge. You can add any type of blocks that you have to the recycled materials you gather.

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Take a moment to think about your bridge. Will it be long, short, high, low?  Do you want to put your toy cars on it? Maybe put other toys on it?

Start building your bridge. Have Fun!

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