Don’t Play With Your Food Unless Your Teacher Tells You To

Last week I had the students work in groups to create a bridge that could span a gap at least 25 centimeters long. They had three days to work on the project and I gave them a lot of time to do so with these materials.

Yup, that is spaghetti. The only other materials they were allowed to use were tape, glue, and a cardboard base.

Apparently there are contests all over the continent where students compete to win prizes based on the stability and structure of their bridges. Most contests allow the builders to only use a certain amount of spaghetti and either hot glue or epoxy.

I started off the class assignment by giving each group one package of spaghetti, one role of tape, and a bottle of white school glue. I told them that they could have a second package of spaghetti if they needed it. The goal was to create a strong bridge that could hold some weight. At the end of the week, we would test them all out to see which group had the strongest bridge.

It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures.

These students decided to use the base as a support for their beams. Good idea!

Great team work here!

The students learned that triangles are a strong shape and a few groups applied that to their models.

This group is just about done. The model is almost ready for testing.

It just needed painting. Well, it didn’t, but this group really got into their work so when they asked for the paint, I was all for it.

HERE ARE THE TOP THREE FINAL PROJECTS


All three of these held a lot of weight.  After we tested each bridge with weights and they held up, I placed a stack of five math textbooks on top of each one.

The blue one fell over but the other two held them.

I think the kids were just as amazed as I was.

They did a great job.

It was a good time of year to do this project as well. Students tend to get a bit wiry around this time of year. They all look forward to March Break and sometimes get a little carried away. This project kept them motivated for a week and it is something that I will definitely need to do again in the future.

That being said. It is March Break. I need a break just as much as the students do. That is why there will be no Teaching Tip Tuesday entry tomorrow. I plan on using tomorrow to write and just enjoy my day.

4 Comments on Don’t Play With Your Food Unless Your Teacher Tells You To

  1. What a great idea Chase! Those are very impressive structures. Kudos for those triangle people, using a lesson they learnt in class. Thanks for sharing.

    S

  2. Thanks Silverfish,

    It was really interesting to see the groups working so hard at this project all week. They applied what we learned in the unit as well. That was cool.

  3. This is great. I hope that you share these ideas on teacher websites as well.

  4. Hi ECD,

    I get some search engine traffic so hopefully teachers can start to find my ideas here. That is one of the reasons I started Teaching Tip Tuesday entries.

    But you have a great idea. Perhaps I should look for other teaching sites to post stuff as well.

    Thanks!

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