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Activity Name:

Sturdy Bridges

How long did it take?

1 Hour


LEGO Simple Machine or NXT kits or homemade kits with lots of beams, axles, bushings 
and wheels.Rig up a card board box with strings so it can be hung from a bridge. (I tied it to a clothes hanger)
Bag of Flour (5 lb)

Background/Things to know about for this activity:
We first started the lesson by going through the engineering design circle. This is a great way to introduce the semester of STOMP. Propose a problem and have the kids describe how go about solving it. Ask leading questions so all of the buzz words are said by class. 

Preparation (what should one do to prepare)::

Rig up a card board box with strings so it can be hung from a bridge. (I tied it to a clothes hanger)

Bring a heavy weight to test bridges. Also can use books from around the class room. 

 In classroom, prepare test set up. separate two desks by one foot. 

Procedure (how to go about the activity):

Introduce engineering concepts with Engineering Design Circle.

Propose assignment: build a bridge that can span 1 foot, using less than 50 lego pieces. make the bridge so it can hold a weight of 5 lbs (bag of flour). 

Split kids up into groups(3-4 per group). Works best if you can convince your teacher to split groups as he/she will know who can work well together. 

Give kids 30 min to build. 

Have testing sessions at end. Everyone watches bridges break/survive with 5 lbs hanging from them. 

Reconvene: ask kids what went well, what went wrong, what changes they made to their bridges to allow it to work. What they would do in future.

How can the EDP or engineering design practices be incorporated into this activity?

covers all steps. 

most importantly this activity highlights the importance of cost efficient engineering as the kids only have 50 parts to work with.


Great way to introduce Legos and STOMP to a class. 


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