STEM Investigation – Build a Bridge

20 May 2022

A STEM investigation about the construction of bridges using everyday materials, embedded in a real-life situation.

The Challenge
Our Year 6 DARE Graduate Diploma students took part in a ‘Build a Bridge STEM Challenge’ where they worked in small groups to design and build a bridge that spans a gap of 50cm (between two tables) using only recycled materials.

The conditions were:

  • The bridge must be free standing. It cannot be attached to the tables.
  • The bridge may only be constructed using the materials from the agreed list.
  • The bridge must be completed within the set timeframe.

Withstanding Weight
The super challenge was building a bridge that can support the weight of a moving toy car. As an extra challenge we also saw if the bridge could withstand additional weights and even a SPW shot put!

After researching the four main types of bridges: beam, arch, suspension and cantilever the students brainstormed ideas for design and what common recycled materials might be suitable to build their bridge. Then the real challenge began of working in teams to build their bridges.

There were some very creative entries with 6 bridges structurally built to hold 9kg (3 shot puts!) of weight and then there were some that could hold a toy car and not additional weight.

DARE In Action
It was wonderful to see our Year 6 DARE Graduate Diploma students display all of the DARE Seven Learning Capabilities (7C’s) – Collaboration, Curiosity, Confidence, Communication, Creativity, Commitment and Craftsmanship during this project.

We have designed DARE to encourage active participation, perseverance and the desire to excel. It supports students to set goals and work hard to achieve them.

Our hope is that through active participation in DARE our children will be inspired to develop resilience, joyfulness, and respect, whilst building life-long skills, characteristics and behaviours to help them flourish.

A great day of STEM learning and team work from our Year 6 students!

Article shared by Year 6 Teachers.

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