IAF Methods

Bridges Exercise

by for . Last edit was over 3 years ago
90 - 120 any

This is a team exercise for team building in small groups.

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To construct a strong, long, ingenious, beautiful bridge and

To appreciate the complexities of working as a team


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  • Per team:
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • roll of tape
  • ball point pen
  • ruler
  • box of paper clips
  • 3 meters of knitting wool
  • 4 markers in different colours
  • 15 sheets of heavy weight A4 paper
  • prizes for the winning team
  • Voting sheets for criteria 3 and 4 for each participant



The materials need to be set up for each team.

Type up the procedure for the team assignment as a handout. Alternatively write on a white board or flipchart if working with a small group.


The next 90 minutes are devoted to a group assignment, followed by a reflection in the whole group. The aim of this activity is to get better acquainted and to build our awareness for teamwork and its skills at the same time. If you have questions, the Facilitator(s) are available to answer them.



The task for each team is to build a bridge using only the materials and tools provided. The bridge must satisfy the following criteria, and the winning team will be judged by these criteria:

1. STRENGTH - The bridge must span across a gap (for instance, between two tables), and carry a pair of scissors on its surface.

2. LENGTH - The longer the bridge, the more points are earned, i.e. the longest bridge will earn the most points.

3. ARCHITECTURAL INGENUITY - Points will also be given for the cleverness of the technical solution.

4. BEAUTY - Points will be given for visual attractiveness.

Points given:

The facilitator will assign points for criteria 1 and 2, strength and length.

Criteria 3 and 4, architectural ingenuity and beauty, will be awarded by voting among all of the participants. The team whose bridge receives the highest total score will win the competition.


Design and Planning Phase (15 minutes)

As a group, create a plan for the bridge you will construct, and a plan for how you will work on this project.

Construction Phase (60 minutes)

Create your bridge. If necessary, you may need to stop to revise your plans. Be sure to keep track of time.

Presentation of the Bridges (15 minutes)

The Facilitator will give notice when the time is up. Each team is then to present your completed bridge and introduce their team of builders. The facilitator will test the strength and measure the length of each bridge. He will eliminate any bridge which does not meet the strength criterion.

Break / Exhibition / Voting (15 minutes)

During the coffee break, it will be possible to view all of the bridges. Everyone is asked to fill in a voting form for the bridge that has the most architectural ingenuity and for the bridge that is the most beautiful.

You may not vote for your own bridge. The Facilitator(s) will count the votes and determine the winning bridge.



When we gather back together as a plenary after the coffee break, we will lead a group reflection about how the bridges were built, what the experience was of working as a team, and of course we will announce the winning bridge.

1. What were some of the activities of your team?

2. What were some of the feeling of the group?

3. What were some of the challenges you faced?

4. How did you analyze and solve problems?

5. How did you design the work?

6. What could you learn from this kind of exercise?


Derived from: Maureen Jenkins wrote this up for a client workshop.

Comments (1) ( 4.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • Prefer to use this as an exercise in the afternoon of a team building day.

    over 3 years ago