Our first STEM-themed linky was a success. I was so pleased and thankful for each person who linked up their science, technology, engineering, and math activities. We had a range of ideas for a wide range of ages....just what I wanted. There's preschool science involving 2 liter bottles, cool demonstration to show the importance of the mitochondria (my personal favorite organelle BTW), hands on math, the science of snowflakes, polar animals and more. If you didn't have a chance to see them, check it out. Our next STEM-themed linky is opening in just a few days, Saturday morning Feburary 2 and is open for 8 days. A list of all the linky parties can be found on my Linky Page.
And like I promised, I am featuring one of you who linked up! Our winner is Kristen at Busy Kids = Happy Mom. Her post, Unplugged Play: Build a Bridge Challenge was one of those posts that totally motivated me, not to "Pin It" but to actually DO IT! (No, she didn't win because we have the color theme on our blogs!) This post is part of a Unplugged Play Series that encourage kids of all ages to be actively engaged in play other than electronics, which all Moms know is always a challenge. As you can see from her Bridge Building Photos, her kids built totally different types of bridges.
We had lots of popsicle sticks at our house, but honestly, turning a glue gun over to my 5 year old is something that I had never even considered. Kristen dedicates an entire post to Glue Guns and Kids, which helped me understand how to get my kid started. I ordered a low-temp glue gun, multi-temp glue sticks and had Caleb practice before starting our project.
Because I enjoy all things STEM, I just happened to have some cereal box pieces from another project we did. I cut a cereal box into varying lengths, and used a hole punch on each end. Then we use brad fasteners to connect them.
While our glue gun was heating up (it doesn't actually take that long, but don't tell Caleb that!), we experimented with different shapes looking for a pattern we might use for our bridge.
Caleb was sure that a rectangle would be the best because it has length he thought his bridge should be. But alas, we discovered that triangles were the strongest and most stable. I was amazed at how well the cardboard strips made this point. Rectangles and squares turn into diamonds with just a little pressure. The triangles are so much stronger! Then when we played a bit making bigger structures out of smaller triangles. And this was how we got started on our bridge. Now when ever we go anywhere, we notice triangles in structures and know they were used because of how strong they are! (The other really strong bridge structure are arches, but we didn't touch on this...you might!)
Now the fun part...constructing the bridge. I'm so glad I got the confidence from Kristen to hand over the glue gun! Caleb was so proud to use it himself, and because the glue dries so fast, his bridge came together quickly. He did touch the glue and the metal part of the gun, but no burns, just wide eyes!
I will admit I helped a bit with this first bridge. We lined up all the triangles well, and the bridge ended up looking great. Here Caleb is testing/playing with his bridge using all available Lego Minifigures and Lego Heroes!
However, since these photos were taken, Caleb has built several more bridges. I'm learning not to be as obsessive about him lining everything up exactly right. I want him to have full ownership, even if that means the bridge floor isn't straight! He doesn't mind, so why should I?
A HUGE thank-you to Kristen from Busy Kids = Happy Mom, for giving me the encouragement I needed to hand over the glue gun to my kid! We are both thankful!
Looking forward to our 2nd STEM-themed linky starting this Saturday, February 2 and going through February 9. For a full list of link-up dates, check my Linky Page.