The Second Graders did a 3 week unit on Civil Engineering (Nov 4-18). They read a book about a little boy named Javier who wanted to build a bridge over a stream. They read and discussed vocabulary in class. By the time they came to the SteamWorks lab they could tell me what a span, pier, arch bridge, beam bridge and suspension bridge is. First we built bridges using index cards and paper and explored how piers worked and how their placement is important. Then we built a cross section of a bridge (again using index cards, paper and adding straws and paper clips) and applied a force (a hair dryer) to see how steady it was. By adding tie downs you could see how that strengthened the bridges. Next they built beam, deep beam, and arch bridges to see which was the strongest. Their final project was to design a bridge than can span 15" inches out of index cards, copy paper, tape, paper clips, straws, and/or Popsicle sticks. They came in with drawings and a supply list. They were given only the supplies on the list and given about 30 minutes to build it. Then they tested by sending a toy car across it. They finished by making any adjustments they needed and if they could justify it, they could ask for more materials but I don't think anyone did!
My name is Anne Jarriel and I oversee the SteamWorks lab at Gullett Elementary. I'm blogging about what I see and lead in the STEAM lab which is mostly kids just having a great time!
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