Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bridge Challenge

Michelle at Delightful Learning was posting instant challenges for us all to enjoy. I think she has since discontinued them, at least for now but there are more than a few to try out if you haven't done so and she has shared her resource with everyone if this is something your kids really like.

This went right along with our study of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge so we tried it one afternoon. E11 is reading the challenge to everyone. They had to build a bridge from using only the materials given which were a set of playing cards and a pair of scissors. There were some tape squares marking where the ends of the bridge needed to be and no part of the bridge could touch down outside of the squares. The squares were placed according to the directions.

At first they weren't so sure but kept trying different ways of making bases and making sure nothing else touched anywhere else. They quickly figured out that just trying to get the cards to layer over each other to make a bridge was not going to work. I will admit I start asking some questions to expand their thinking.

Finally, they began to use the scissors! It took them some time to adjust the snips to where they worked best.
I7 started hooking cards together in this way and things started to take shape. When you are working with the kids this way, you have to encourage them to involve everyone. Just like with groups of adults, some kids naturally take the lead and delegating is a learned skill!
They are getting down to the final steps. The bases were not quite holding up the way they'd planned so some more adjustments needed to be made. I had to remind them to practice "gracious professionalism" as we say in FIRST LEGO League. That's not always easy.
I bucked the system and went with Funtastic Frogs as weights. Yes! The bridge holds weight!
The bridge held two frogs and we went for three. Yes! It will hold three small frogs! Notice how the bases were adjusted sideways which made them stronger.
However, four frogs would prove to be too much. All in all a great effort by the team!
Our local Sciencenter has an exhibit on bridge building right now. They always have the best books to look at. I've had the Bridges! book on the upper right checked out for months. What a great resource if you are looking to have fun with bridges. Which we were. With our story of the George Washington Bridge in NYC.
They have all kinds of bridge building materials in the exhibit. So, this made for a great field trip for bridge studies.
We didn't do as much as we might have simply because we ran out of time. Next layer on the next time around. No problem!


Tracey said...

This is awesome! (As usual)

Heather said...

Thanks Tracey!

Lori said...

We had a great time with the bridge challenge! The frogs are a nice touch. :) What a fun way to tie in your FIAR studies!

Michelle said...

Great challenge! I love how you tied it in with the Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. I agree - the frogs were a cute touch. =)

School for Us said...

What a wonderful challenge! I've been wanting to study bridges with my daughter. Well, we studied them when she was about 5, but now she's 9 so it'd be a lot different. I'll keep this challenge in mind when we do it!