We are so excited to have you join us for STEM in Action! This interactive version of our STEM storytime, Wonder Hour, will be an awesome way to grow your brain and learn new things at home!
This STEM in Action challenge is all about bridges. We are going to hear a story about the Brooklyn Bridge, which is located in New York City and it is one of the most famous bridges in the world. And do you know how the engineers tested to make sure the bridge was strong enough for cars and people to cross? The answer is pretty WILD!
Step One : Interactive Read Aloud
To start, let's do a fun read aloud! Our STEM Challenge is all about Twenty-one Elephants, which is based on a TRUE story about the Brooklyn Bridge in New York! Watch the video below to hear the story about the elephants who crossed the Brooklyn Bridge!
Step Two : Learn + Brainstorm
Isn't that story crazy?! I don't know about you but I left with a bunch of questions. One question I had was about bridges - how do engineers know how to make them so strong? I know that elephants weigh a LOT so the structure will have to be really sturdy to make it safe. Check out the video below to learn more about the types of bridges!
Start to think about how you might build your bridge. Do you think you’ll have columns holding the bridge up, like in the Beam Bridge? Or can you find a way to have your bridge float like the truss bridge or suspension bridge?
Engineers always draw out their plans before they start creating. Grab a piece of paper and draw out some ideas! Remember, your challenge is the same as the engineers on the Brooklyn Bridge!
Step Three : STEM Challenge - get creative!
Time to get to work! Grab your materials and your plans and get building!
Parents, we have a few tips and tricks to share with you! This part of the STEM in Action activity can start to feel chaotic, but don’t worry! Check-in frequently and point out specific examples of the 4Cs during this kids engineering challenge. We like to use a technique called “notice and narrate” where you simply state everything you are seeing, as it’s happening. This helps kids to process their actions and think through choices. It’s important to acknowledge challenges as they arise, and talk through possible solutions. Encourage finding more than one right answer - testing out many ideas is something that all engineers do.
Step Four : Wrap Up + Celebrate
It’s important to take a moment to debrief an activity like this, even if you’re at home. Take a few minutes to let your kiddos share what they made, tell more about how their bridge works and why they made the choices they did. Take a picture of it or send it to a friend/family member - having an audience to share your learning with is important! And see if you can make a connection back to the text - are there any elements present in your bridge that you also see in other bridges? And most importantly, give your kids (and yourself!) a big high-five for taking the time to put STEM in Action!
P.S. Still curious about bridges? Check out these amazing bridges from all over the world!