I have a question about bridges. I am not sure if this is the right place, since everyone else is discussing more advanced things, but I couldn't find anything (I did try to search). If this post is out of place just please redirect me. For school I need to design and then build a bridge to connect 2 supports that are about a foot apart, using only toothpicks and wood glue. My question is this: Would designs for real bridges work in this situation, even though the force will only be applied to a point in the center of the structure? I have read a bit about the parabola and catenary in calculus books, but would a curve be best in this situation? If a cable supporting a uniform weight (along the x axis) makes a parabola, and it can be inverted to create an arch with the forces reversed, then can a cable supporting a single weight that pulls it down in a V shape be reversed to make an optimal arch for this application? What is wrong with my reasoning? I haven't been through physics in school yet, so I might not even be asking the right questions. Please help me by explaining what is going on or redirecting me to some good online resource.