"I have been using Mystery Science and one of the lessons in Forces and Motion discussed what made the "Strongest Bridge." The students (in groups) each got 2 pieces of paper to design the strongest bridges, meaning could hold the most pennies. The bridge needed to be a least 3 inches wide and span at least 6 inches long over two think books or 4 medium books (two stacked on either side). The students had to record how many pennies their bridge held before collapsing and then redesign three times to try and improve the strength of their bridge. No scissors or tape could be used." Lindsay Hess, 3rd grade, Wade Thomas
Students were given straws and paper clips to build the strongest bridge that weighs the least (least amount of supplies). They can test their designs, re-design, and test again. Each day they fill out an exit slip about what problems they have encountered and possible solutions so the next day they are reminded what they did the previous day.
Here is a look at one way to put all the lessons on bridges and structures together for a years unit. Thanks for all your hard work Sarah Zykanov!
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
3–5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3–5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3–5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth
● Living things affect the physical characteristics of their regions. (4-ESS2-1)
ESS3.B: Natural Hazards
● A variety of hazards result from natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions). Humans cannot eliminate the hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts. (4-ESS3-2)
ETS1.B: Designing Solutions to Engineering Problems
● Testing a solution involves investigating how well it performs under a range of likely conditions. (secondary to 4-ESS3-2)
Great day at Davidson Middle School with engineering. Thanks Emily, Ranae, and Jessica!
7th graders building prosthetic arms:
Embedded videos were deleted and changed to urls due to upload size of Power Point.
8th graders building amusement park rides:
7th graders testing their toothpick bridges:
Ramina Winton and I had a fun afternoon building in the Davidson shop. Adam SInger is a patient teacher and very knowledgeable about his craft. Now Ramina is ready to build some truss bridges. Ramina also learned that the Dollar Store sells signs with craft sticks attached that can work when you need craft sticks in a pinch!
Erik Lunde from Miller Creek had the students build cantilevers with toothpicks and clay.
Another use for Spaghetti and another way to build bridges... win/win!
iTEAMS is a professional development research project designed to provide teachers with support to deepen their content knowledge and pedagogy to promote STEM education aligned to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).