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STEM Activity Challenge: Build a Gliding Bridge

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3 MB|21 pages
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STEM Challenge: Here’s an amazing STEM challenge based on a real life application! It’s a bridge challenge we call Gliding Bridges!

*** Please note: This lesson is available in a combination package.

This challenge is one we loved as we learned some background and then experimented with our designs! Students will follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process for this challenge. The package contains step-by-step procedures for the teacher that are clearly marked with the Design Process steps. The accompanying lab sheets for students are also marked. A new feature has been added in which each student will spend time sketching and planning their own individual idea for the design of either the bridge string system or the passenger carrier and then write reasons his or her design is the best. This is followed by a discussion with other team members in which each student presents the idea and reasons. Each team then decides what the team design will be. The plan gives every student a voice in the final design.

Students will build the passenger carrier and a bridge system that includes a moving string and end supports. This will determine the best ride for each team’s carrier. Finally, students will have the opportunity to try a re-design!

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes: String, 3 ounce cups, cardstock, ping pong balls, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, paper clips, metal washers, tape, dowel sticks, scissors, hole punchers, calculators, large cups (20-30 ounce) or small buckets, sand, gravel, and clay (modeling clay or modeling dough.

The package specifically includes: cover, teacher background, materials and preparation page, 6 pages of teacher directions, 1 page of information about Gliding Bridges, 2 pages of helpful hints, constraints list, price list for supplies (students use this), 3 pages of photographs, a 2 page lab sheet, a cost listing sheet, credits page, and a thank you page. Sample student answer sheets are not included, but samples from student work are included in the teacher direction pages. The page count listed includes everything.

This was an exciting challenge. It created a need for collaboration within each group and after each group demonstrated students were able to re-design. The re-designs added to the challenge and also created helping and suggestions from one team to another. This presented some terrific learning opportunities.

You might also enjoy these Real Life Model Challenges:
STEM Challenge: Build a Zip Line
STEM Challenge: Build a Pipeline

NOTE: All three Real Life Model lessons can be purchased in a money-saving bundle:
STEM Challenges – A Bundle of Real Life Model Challenges

Or, even better this challenge can be found in a money-saving 6-Pack!
STEM Challenges 6-Pack Bundle featuring Real Life Adventures

You might also like these:

STEM Challenge: Cargo Drops
STEM Challenge- Exploring Perimeter and Area
STEM Challenge Designing with Dozens: Card Towers
STEM Challenge ~ Same Supplies two Tasks: Rescue Devices
STEM Quick Challenge: Tennis Ball Towers

You might be interested in a Force and Motion Vocabulary set! It works great with this challenge!
Force and Motion Vocabulary and Word Wall

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