As a continuation of our "Children are Future Engineers" thematic unit, we welcomed the Museum of Science to St. Michael's for their engineering Building Bridges workshop. < Learn about the traveling workshop >
The prekindergarten, kindergarten, grades 1 & 2 had a 50 minute session where they read a story about 2 friends who have an engineering problem: How to bridge a river that separates them.
The children were challenged to prototype simple bridges over a model river using wood blocks. Using the Design Thinking Process, the students tested their bridges, discussed other ideas and solutions, and improved their designs. They learned how arch bridges work through trial and error, discovering the importance of the "keystone" and that its shape contributes to the strength of the bridge. As the finale to the story, the characters solved their problem with an arch bridge and the children built a full size bridge...and tested it themselves!
Before Bridge Building Day the prekindergarten was hard at work, practicing their bridge making skills, in preparation for this workshop.