Baby Bridge Project in Parts
Decided NOT to do the three weeks of sticking toothpicks into a bridge then break it. Instead, I’m trying a series of engineering design challenges with my challenging 8th graders. Fighting fire with fire 🙂 It’s really fun!
The first challenge:
Make a pillar that can withstand 2 textbooks of compression force. Lightness means less expensive to build. They had 1 straw, 1 piece of paper, 30cm sticky tape and 20 pins. (Watch out for these going out of class and sudden screams all over school. Nuff said.)
Awarded a pink paper for 7 or more, green for 4-6 text books and yellow for 2-3 texts. They stuck their pillar on after testing and weighing. Then I organized them by color. Finally, they took on the role of city councilors and decided which pillar design bid they would um, support.
Some like strong, some liked cheap or a combination. Very few went for Sophia’s triangle design, surprisingly. I loved it. And many went for their own or friend’s designs.
So, does that sort of thing happen in real life with grown-ups? Oh yeah, although theoretically, council members are supposed to recuse themselves if they have a vested interest. Interesting for kids to experience the process of bidding and approval of civic architecture. A seat-of-my-pants, last-minute idea that worked out, phew, onto tomorrow and the cantilever challenge!