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The Bone Bridge® Halloween STEM Activity is collaborative, brain-busting work disguised as fun! This challenge goes beyond Halloween. Connect it to the skeletal system, bridges/transportation, and/or forces (specific ideas provided in the resource).
The basic premise:
Students work in partners or groups against a list of criteria and constraints to build a bridge for length, strength, or capacity using simple materials.
This is the first resource from Bone Bridge® STEM Challenges!
Note: This is the printable version. If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you will want to check out the digital option for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM) instead.
If you have questions about which version is right for you, please feel free to leave me a question using the product Q&A below.
NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8
- Links to a video walk-through of the challenge & my 5-part video series on getting started with STEM challenges
- Premise & Set-up
- Materials and timing
- Modifying Criteria & Constraints to adjust challenge difficulty
- Measuring results
- Post-design extension activities list & links
- Criteria and Constraints list
- Design Analysis Handouts
- two sets & two versions: 2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included for two different goals: length or length + weight held
- Discussion Questions
- Process flow map
- Create & solve math problems based on designs
- Bone Idioms activity template (editable)
- Bridge Idioms activity template (editable)
Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.
Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:
- Cotton swabs (30 - 50)
- Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
- Popsicle/craft sticks (5 - 10)
- Penny (to measure gap constraint)
- Rulers/measuring tapes (tip: pick up paper measuring tapes from Ikea)
- Tape, cable ties
- Candy pumpkins or base-ten blocks for weights (if weight/capacity criterion is used)
What are teachers saying about Bone Bridge®?
“The class had so much fun with this challenge! When we started putting weights on each bridge they were cheering so loud other teachers had to come see what was happening.” (grade level not indicated)
"My students didn't want this activity to end. Watching them work in groups and try different ideas was rewarding." (2nd grade teacher)
“I love the optional extensions and discussion questions! That will help me differentiate for my high functioning students.” (grade level not indicated)
“This was such a fun and engaging activity! It was an optional task, and I would say at least 95% of my students chose to do this! We also used this to introduce the idea of constraints. It was such a great productive struggle for them to learn to use only the provided materials and have to navigate their way through. Highly recommend.” (3rd - 5th grade teacher)
“This was a great activity to use during the week of Halloween as a STEM activity with my 5/6 graders. They loved it and were very competitive. It kept them very engaged during the crazy Halloween week." (5th/6th grade teacher)
“This was perfect! Much more challenging than the students expected!” (grade level not indicated)
"My students had a blast with this assignment. As we were in a hybrid situation, some of my students were in class and others home. We planned ahead so everyone had the materials and a space to work. None of the student creations came out like I thought they would ... it gave a nice hands on experience." (7th/8th grade teacher)
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