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STEAM Exploration: Bridge & Tower

Towers and bridges both need strong shapes. Start with this video to learn about strong shapes. This video will help you imagine great designs when you draw plans for the challenges below.

This video shows why triangles are a good shape to use when building a tall tower.

Design Squad is a great resource for many STEAM projects. This tower video shows off their skills!

We have many tower-building challenges. We even have a page focused on our experiences building towers. Check out edMe’s Tower Page any time!

Materials

We sell tower kits and bridge kits, and you can get these materials around your house too! Here is a quick overview of the best options:

  • Spaghetti and Marshmallows – Not only delicious, but easy for the youngest architects. Can be sticky so a sheet or big piece of paper is a worthwhile work area. Some people use rubber bands so it’s easier to use these materials over and over again.
  • Straws and tape – Easy to build although it takes some team work to redesign (scissors involved). Definitely allows for gigantic designs.
  • Legos – If you have them, give it a shot! It takes a lot of legos to build a BIG tower or bridge, but the possibilities are definitely there.
  • Newspaper – Adds a unique spin to the challenges because architects must first figure out what shape of newspaper is the strongest. The ink easily washes off of hands and it allows for some of the largest builds.
  • Cardboard – If the delivery truck stops often at your house, consider injecting STEM into your recyclables. We find it’s most engaging to flatten or break down the boxes first, so you have sheets of cardboard that allow the imagination to explore. (May need a good pair of scissors.)

Freemium Virtual Simulator Apps

We have a series of challenges for you to engage with towers and bridges this week. Many of them use physical materials that you can buy here or at a local store. And, you will want to download the free app:

Challenges

Here are the STEM challenges that will help you build your brain power!

  • Challenge 13: Build the tallest tower possible with 20 straws and tape.
  • Challenge 14: Build the first 5 bridges in the app. (Click here if you have trouble installing it!)
  • Challenge 15: Build a bridge tower in real life.
  • Challenge 16: Building a toothpick tower that can support a brick.
  • Challenge 17: Becoming an accomplished virtual bridge builder. (Challenges 6-10 in the app)
  • Challenge 18: Understand and celebrate a bridge in your area.
  • Challenge 19: Building a tall bridge
  • Challenge 20: Investigate a historic bridge and show why it is strong.
  • Challenge 21: Building a long bridge
  • Challenge 22: Becoming an advanced virtual bridge builder. (Challenges 11-15 in the app)
  • Challenge 23: Becoming an expert virtual bridge builder! (Challenges 16-20 in the app)
  • Challenge 24: Create a video that teaches someone younger why bridges are strong
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Create your Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone cover

Covers are great because they summarize the theme of the book. What was the theme of this story in your opinion?

One thing we all hate are spoilers! Spoilers give away exciting details in the story. There were many events that were fun to read about in this book! If someone told you what was going to happen before you read, you would not have enjoyed reading as much.

When you create your cover, avoid spoilers!

Challenge:

  1. Write your theme on a piece of paper.
  2. Write an event that you do not want to spoil for the reader.
  3. Draw a cover that expresses that theme.

You can upload one picture with your writing and drawing here.

Upload your picture here.

We will post feedback to your account soon afterwards!

If you want to see the rubric, click here.

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Cover Rubric for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Remember, themes cover the entire book. Your cover should show the theme in pictures. Also, covers are exciting, so think about something you found exciting in the book. Would you be excited to read the book if you saw this cover?

Use this rubric to help you think about your cover. If you want feedback, you can submit how you think your cover addresses these criteria and we will give you feedback. Great work on this book!

Cover is missing or could be the cover of any book.Cover does not show themes, main characters, or important events this book.Cover shows a theme, but is not clear enough for someone else to understand a theme in this book.Cover is clear, exciting, and shows a theme within this book.
Missing012

Review your work and give yourself a score. Explain why you gave your work this score.

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Event Rubric for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Themes cover the entire book. It’s the message. Authors develop theme through their characters, the characters’ actions, what happens as a result, and even word choice and writing style help make a theme. What was the theme for this book? This rubric shows how you can evaluate your work on describing the theme.

Attempt is missing or barely started.Event is incorrect or not clearly described.Event is somewhat unclear or may not be a true spoiler (If your event is in the beginning of the book or not that interesting, then it may not worry people if they know it before they start reading.) Event is clearly described and is certainly something a reader wants to discover on their own!
Missing012

Review your work and give yourself a score. Explain why you gave your work this score.

To go to the next rubric, click here.

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Rubric for Theme to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Themes cover the entire book. It’s the message. Authors develop theme through their characters, the characters’ actions, what happens as a result, and even word choice and writing style help make a theme. What was the theme for this book? This rubric shows how you can evaluate your work on describing the theme.

Theme is missing or barely started.The theme is unclear for another reader, or may misinterpret the message within this book.The theme may cover one or two events, but not the whole book. Or, it could need more description so someone else can understand it.The theme addresses events and characters from the entire book. Bonus points if you cite the events that support your theme!
Missing012

Review your work and give yourself a score. Explain why you gave your work this score.

 

To go to the next rubric, click here.

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Catapults

Use your kit to make things fly! We give you a penny to launch, and you can find lots of other things to launch in your catapult.

Directions:

  1. Create a strong base by tying together some sticks.
  1. Add your launch stick.
  1. Make the base longer.
  1. Make the base stronger.
  1. Launch your catapult and make things fly!!
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Engineering Kits

These kits allow students to truly engineer. This means they draw a design, make their design, test it, collect the data, and then start the process again. These kits will take between 30-75 minutes for most children.

If you are looking for classroom or group use, consider buying kits and our 12-week STEM clubs for:

Love this stuff? Join our STEM of the Month club to easily receive (or gift) a mega-pack of engineering each month.