6th graders' Introduction to Engineering unit culminated with a bridge building challenge. Students were tasked to work through the engineering design process to make a bridge made of only gumdrops, toothpicks and marshmallows. While working with candy is always fun, the real fun involved working together as a team to solve the problem. Bridges needed to span a "canyon" 23 centimeters wide and support the weight of "traffic" (in this case a 0.5 kilogram pumpkin). Each of the materials had a cost associated with it so teams struggled to come up with a design that worked while trying to stay under budget; only one team succeeded! However, the major goal of the activity was not to build a successful bridge (although it is satisfying to do so); we were more focused on teamwork, the engineering process, and perseverance. We will practice these skills again with more projects later in the school year.
STEM at East Tipp!