Engineering has always fascinated and terrified me. One miscalculation and a whole building can fall down or a bridge can collapse. However, it's successful engineering that has brought us some of the greatest marvels of modern civilization.
Kids love to build, so today's hands-on learning station is going to focus on engineering feats. This post is part of my 31+ Days of Hands-On Learning Stations, and the focus of this week is hands-on learning stations that center around the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Bridge Building Engineering
Bridge building is not as easy as it looks. However, it's a fun and rewarding challenge for kids. This project might need to be extended over a couple of days, but the kids will love it.
As always, I'm going to include some bridge books to get their creative juices flowing. I'd like them to know the types of bridge structures before they start their own bridge building. Here's some books to choose from:
- Who Built That? An Introduction to Ten Great Bridges and Their Designers
- 13 Bridges Children Should Know
- Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test
For beginner bridge builders, KNEX has a great bridge building education set where students can build 13 different bridge structures. You really don't need fancy building materials though to play with bridge building. Here are some great bridge building ideas:
Take On an Engineering Challenge
Marci over at The Homeschool Scientist has created so many wonderful engineering challenges. She has a list of over 100 Engineering projects for kids. In addition, she's come up with some excellent engineering challenges that only require a few supplies, but would be great for a hands-on learning station. Check these out:
Expand Your Engineering Horizons
Engineering is not limited to structures. Try some of these fun projects to expand your child's engineering horizons:
- Design and Test a Parachute
- Extending Grabber
- Mechanical Hand
- Tensile Bubbles (these are super cool!)
Critical Thinking Continues
It's so great to give kids time to experiment. Critical thinking is enhanced by failure. Hands-on projects like this come with a high probability for failure, but offer a great opportunity to try again. When you're not getting "graded" on an activity, it's not so scary to fail. Engineering challenges are a great way to build the confidence while challenging the brain!
What engineering feat would your kids love to try?
Check out more hands-on learning stations inspiration in my 31+ Days of Hands-On Learning series! Here are some more hands-on learning stations that feature science concepts.
- Construction Fun
- Snap Circuits
- Balance Practice
- Investigate Nature
- Cultivating Curiosity with Documentaries
- Computer Science
- Fire Prevention and Safety
Check out the rest of the series for stations featuring other subjects: