Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox every week.      
The Kid Should See This

Succeed by Failing: Failure points and how to fix them

Failure is a huge part of learning and creating. When you fail at something, you’re collecting information, practicing, and coming up with new solutions that can help improve the project and your understanding of it. You may also be finding the project’s failure points. As Sabrina Cruz explains in this Crash Course Kids episode:

“Engineers fail all the time when they’re trying to find the best solution to a problem. In fact, failing is really important because it helps you figure out how to make a solution that really does work. And to do that, engineers need to find their failed solutions’ failure points… the point at which a solution doesn’t work anymore.”

Example: The bridge below is great for foot traffic, but how much weight can it handle before it breaks? “That specific amount of weight would be the bridge’s failure point.”

failure point on a bridge
Next, Cruz explains how to find and fix failure points by setting up models and trials that help you fail on purpose. Creating an organized plan that includes isolating and testing variables through a series of trials can identify failure points and help you improve the project. A quick definition from Science Buddies:

The things that are changing in an experiment are called variables. A variable is any factor, trait, or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types. An experiment usually has three kinds of variables: independent, dependent, and controlled.

testing the bridge
Also, how crazy are the videos of Galloping Gertie?

galloping gertie
You don’t have to be a kid to learn a little something from this information-packed, adorably-animated educational series. Find more of Crash Course Kids’ smart videos on YouTube or on TKSST.

Watch this next: What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process.

Plus, watch more bridge videos, more videos about testing, more engineering videos, and more videos about fails, including these excellent related projects and videos for all ages:
• Spaghetti bridges, a DIY engineering activity
• How to make Leonardo da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge
• Construct a Roman aqueduct, a DIY engineering activity

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Earth’s Rotation & Revolution + Following the Sun

Rion Nakaya

Lar Gibbon crosses a suspension bridge

Rion Nakaya

How does a tunnel boring machine work?

Rion Nakaya

Can this super long logging truck turn and cross this tiny bridge?

Rion Nakaya

An accidental toy inventor’s shapeshifting designs

Rion Nakaya

The Four Spheres (Geo, Bio, Hydro, & Atmo) with Crash Course Kids

Rion Nakaya

Earth’s Hydrosphere and Geosphere + Weathering and Erosion

Rion Nakaya

Mysteries of the world’s biggest dome

Rion Nakaya

A sustainable cooling system made with wet terracotta cones

Rion Nakaya