Monday, February 22, 2010

Building Bridges

In the fall, the fine young gents chose to do a bridge-building study. Third-grade gent has ambitions to be an engineer who builds bridges "and other stuff." Well, sort of. He's either going to be an engineer who cooks and plays music for fun, or a musician who cooks and builds bridges, or a famous chef who designs bridges and kitchens and plays several instruments. And why not? We started our bridge study with this amazing book:

Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test (Kaleidoscope Kids), by Carol A. Johman.

The book is a wonderful blend of information and hands-on practice. We had a grand time making human structures to demonstrate the principles of tension and compression. The fine young gents learned about different occupations involved in bridge building and drew and labeled their favorite of the three basic types of bridges.

And the fine young gents started building:
Third-grade gent started with a single sheet of paper across two books. Will it hold a car? He took notes on his failures and successes. He ended up with an accordion-fold sandwiched between two flat pieces to give his Hot Wheels a sturdy smooth bridge.

We've only gotten halfway through the Bridges! book. We keep getting sidetracked by other fantastic building resources, like Bill Nye the Science Guy's video, Structures. Check out these egg structures!

We also got the idea for this bridge of straws and pins from a Bll Nye video:
The gents wanted to explore and discover construction using household materials, too. They made a maze for the Minotaur, a ziggurat, pyramids, and refrigerator box forts. They built bridges using stacking cups, dominoes, marbles mazes, pick-up sticks and (of course) wooden blocks.
I stepped around and over block bridges, mazes and houses for weeks.

The holidays afforded construction opportunities with a new set of materials. What can you make with graham crackers and leftover icing?
Or gumdrops and toothpicks?
Or gingerbread and candy?
And we've been doing challenges from one of our favorite blogs, Think! No pictures, so no posts, but we've kept ourselves busy. Eventually we'll finish our Bridges! book, but not (I think) our bridges study.

Next up, the book the eldest of the fine young gents spotted the day after Christmas and went, "Oooooooooooooo."
I didn't see him for nearly an hour.

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