stem activity

Simple STEM Activity to Create a Bridge and a Perfect Book

STEM Literacy: Bridges by Ken Robbins

Bridge the gap between STEM learning and literacy by checking out the book Bridges by Ken Robbins. (See what I did there?) This great piece of literature is filled with beautifully colored photographs showcasing all kinds of you guessed it bridges! The author explains engineering terminology in an easy to read format. He brings to light the simplest type of bridge to more complex structures and dives right into why they are designed, their functions, and materials. You can try the activities and build bridges even if you don’t have the book.

building bridges STEM Activity

Easy STEM Activity

Read this book to your class and then break out your bridge building items. Put your little engineers to work! Toothpicks and marshmallows work great, but if you haven’t got those on hand (or want to avoid sticky fingers and a sugar rush) then straws, popsicle sticks, or even spaghetti noodles do the trick!

Have students build structures across their desks, books, or blocks. You can even get fancy with balsa wood and glue! Encourage your students to plan, design, and draw out their prototype, then watch their dreams come to life! Challenge those engineering skills even more by creating different contests for the tallest bridge or see which one can bear the most weight. Watch their eyes grow as you continue to add weight with books on top of their structures until they collapse! What a great way to get their minds thinking and engaged in engineering and design!

Go on a Bridge Hunt

Another fun activity to get students moving and thinking is to go on a bridge hunt! Take a stroll around your school and have your students wear their “engineering hats” as they look around for any bridges you might have. Be sure to check out your playground, walkways, and areas near portables. Talk about the reasons the bridge was built? Does it help students get safely from one place or another or is it purely aesthetic?

stem activity

The hand colored photographs in this book will have you dreaming about all of the gorgeous bridges around the Northeast United States. The text is easy enough for your third grader to read on their own, but can also encourage your fifth grader to day dream about science. You can read it out loud to your first graders or allow your kindergartener to happily look through the pictures. This book is a great STEM read-a-loud and will make the perfect addition to your literacy corner.

If you want to see more STEM Literacy Ideas check out these posts:

How a House is Built

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Thanks for reading!

Sarah Winchell

Science is for Kids

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Hello and welcome to Science is for Kids! I’m Sarah, the author, and I’m glad you dropped by to visit my site. I love providing teaching ideas for elementary science teachers, and here, you’ll find my favorite lessons and resources to make learning science fun for kids. You can visit my About Me page to learn more.


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