Right now in their Science class, the teacher is reviewing and expanding on the concept of invisible forces. They had done a couple of demonstrations and discussions in class about how there are forces that are present in an action that we don't always see or think of right away (for example, playing tug of war and the forces needed in pulling as well as your feet pushing against the ground or when you hit one end of a spoon, it will launch an object, but then that object raises and lowers in the air). For this STEAM activity, we had them build another example of invisible forces - by building bridges!
The materials students were given were:
- 30 index cards
- 12 paper straws
- Masking tape
- Small container (representing a car)
- Mini erasers (representing the weight of people).
With their resources, students had to work in small groups to build a bridge that was at least 12 inches long and at least 6 inches tall. I think one of the most challenging parts of this activity for most groups was deciding on a common building plan and then breaking a large task into smaller parts. A few groups took right to creating a plan and everyone contributing to the building process. This is one of the things that I love about STEAM activities - it is so much more than just completing the presented task. Students MUST talk and work together in order to be successful. This is an important skill that is applicable beyond the classroom - and even for adults! By the end of our time, we had several groups that were successful and I know if they had more time, they would have improved their designs and made them even stronger.