STEM Storytime recently focused bridges, featuring Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
which tells the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge from a little girl’s point of view. Her father, family . . . indeed, everyone she knows, feels the bridge is unsafe. That is, until master showman P.T. Barnum parades his 21 elephants across as testimony to its stability.
We then learned about different kinds of bridges, like-beam, arch, suspension, and truss, and talked about what shape is most stable (the triangle), before beginning to build with marshmallows and toothpicks.
The materials are basic, but open the door to so many possibilities!
If you’re looking for an easy, open-ended activity for the kids, marshmallow building is a sure-fire hit!