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Five for Friday- the Bridge Version!

Happy Friday and happy because next week is short!!
Don’t forget to  join Kacey at Doodlebugs for Five for Friday!
So this is all about bridges… of our favorite activities in the lab!
STEM - This post is all about bridges we have built in the STEM Lab! So many different versions and all super fun (and full of learning)!

 First bridge we tried…
Okay, I know kids love making bridges. It’s a challenge I have used with my science club years and years ago and then again in the STEM lab one year ago. For some reason, any time we build something and then test it by adding weights, kids go nuts. It’s a competition thing, I think. They especially love it when they get to 100 pennies, because that is ONE DOLLAR! (They race across the lab to tell their friends- like one dollar is just so much….)
Anyway, the first bridge we tried last year was a platform bridge.
STEM Bridge: This is a platform bridge that uses only one materials! It's a lot more challenging than it looks. Kids will be intrigued at designing one that will hold the most weight!
This was super easy, one supply, and had unexpected results. The platform bridges held a lot of weight! The main thing we had to determine, however, is whether or not this is a bridge. I had kids do the research and here is what they found: 
Granted, it’s not the Golden Gate Bridge, but it is a platform that appears to be solid on the bottom and still works as a bridge. We also thought decks and floating boat docks might be considered platform bridges.
You can see more details about Index Card Bridges {HERE}!

 Next Bridge!
We loved , loved this one. Well, who wouldn’t? Two supplies, easy prep, and it took some brain power to determine how to connect all that and still have a structure to connect the two banks (tissue boxes). Then we placed a bowl on top and counted pennies into it. Total fun!
STEM Bridge- This bridge is made of two main materials. It must span a gap and hold weight. The real dilemma is in how to make those building materials less flimsy!
More details about Marshmallow Bridges, {HERE}!

Next Bridge!
Now this one had more supplies, but was still easy prep. The biggest dilemma was how to connect straws together. You might notice that the bridge in the photo has toothpicks stabbed through the straws- not the best of ideas. I did this bridge experience with  5th graders. 
STEM Bridge- Another great design challenge with building a bridge that will hold weight. The main materials are straws and toothpicks. The challenge is in how to use those materials together to span a gap!
Details about this bridge made of Toothpicks and Straws can be found {HERE}

Next up, the best ever, most amazing bridge!
This is one of best bridge building experiences. I created a homework video and put it on my classroom website! My fifth graders had to watch this and come to class prepared with ideas about building a suspension bridge.
I will have to tell you that I have not seen such excitement over anything we have done (even pancakes)!
STEM Bridge! Let's build a suspension bridge using craft sticks and glue! Can you add string to make it resemble a rel suspension bridge?

STEM Bridge! Let's build a suspension bridge using craft sticks and glue! Can you add string to make it resemble a rel suspension bridge?
The photos show two bridges in the beginning stages.
Here’s a finished one!
STEM Bridge! Let's build a suspension bridge using craft sticks and glue! Can you add string to make it resemble a rel suspension bridge?
The Suspension Bridge details are {HERE}

Finally, do you think first graders can build bridges? YES, they can! I tried something with a group of littles that was just amazing.
First Grade STEM: Each child had ten counting cubes and four craft sticks. All I told them was, "Build a bridge." Check this blog post for more!
They used two materials and after watching a short video about engineers and talking about bridges they set out to build one!
You can try a post I wrote just about this experience right here:
Thanks for stopping by to read all about bridges.
You might also want to check my Pinterest board that is all about them!


  1. Beth says

    I love your pictures of student work. I can only imagine how much they enjoy creating them. Oh–and do enjoy that Thanksgiving with the family!

  2. The Literary Maven says

    I love the hands on activities. I am always trying to figure out more ways to do activities like that in my ELA classroom.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  3. Luv My Kinders says

    Wow, your 5th graders are pretty impressive with their latest bridge building activity. Looks like all kinds of fun as usual in your room. Enjoy your holiday with your family!

    Luv My Kinders