Tension and Compression
Effects on Learning

One study found that high school students who participated in a Lego First program reported feeling more comfortable and excited about engineering and science. [source: Melchior et al.]. Even teens with diverse backgrounds benefited from maintaining personal responsibility for portions of the Lego projects.

Some bridges seem like they defy physics, with massive pieces suspended midair. It turns out the same concept that makes this possible also works on a smaller scale with Lego projects at home.

Tension (the pulling forces on materials) and compression (the pressure on materials), give many structures a floating effect. For Lego lovers, you can try suspend portions of structures by creating your own arches and bridges. Truss bridges, in particular, use tension and compression to get the job done. It's also important to keep in mind your material's stiffness, as it will give more or less when under additional pressure.

Click ahead for more tips on structural engineering of the Lego variety.