This is a basic quick ten minute activity I do with the kids. It is called boom construction. Students will be given a few pages of paper, construction paper, and a couple of index cards. Then using those materials, students will have to make a bridge with those materials to hold about two pounds of weights. Students are encourage to create a page using the least amount of materials they can.
Students will have about 10 minutes to design and create their bridge. During that time, students may ask to test their b ridges to the instructor which he or she will tie a paper cup to their bridge and add weight/coins until it drops.The last minute is the last test and to calculate the points used for each of their materials. Values can be any amount but must follow this order: Construction paper> Copy Paper> index card. The student who built the bridge that can hold the most weight is the winner. If there is a tie between the most weigh t, the winner will be decided by the student who has the least amount of points for their construction. However, if t he cost between first and second place is too wide, more than 2 points and the amount of weight is different by only one or two coins, that second place student is the winner. * Adjustments may be required, and can be changed by the instructor.
Step 1: Materials
There are only a couple of materials you will need for this activity. You will need some copy paper, notebook paper, index cards, paper clips, tape and scissors. To test your boom bridge you will need to put it on top of something so that it can be a couple feet off any surface. My fellow co-workers made a wooden bridge above, it is not required, but cool to use. As long as you can place the bridge off the ground then it is good. You will also need a cup that has a string through it and something to act as weights to place in the cup.
Step 2: Make the Cup
You can use any type of cup to hold the weights. I find that a cup made up with a heavier material works best and will not easily break. Get the cup and poke a small hole into two sides. Place a piece of thread through one hole and push through the second hole. Then pull both ends up and tie the string above it.
Step 3: Make Your Boom Bridge
Here is the creative part! There is more than one "right" way to make your boom bridge. You can design it any way you wish and see how much weight it can carry before it falls part. One simple design I made was to simply roll a index card into a piece of notebook paper and clip both ends of the paper with a paper clip.
Step 4: Test It!
To test your boom bridge, place your boom bridge through the loop of the thread hanging from the cup and simply let the thread rest on top of your paper boom. Then slowly add a small increments of weight inside the cup. I used small ankle weights where one piece is about half a pound. So how many you can put in the cup before it collapses. You do not have it use ankle weights to test it. You can use pennies or any other object to use as the weights as long as it can fit into the cup.
Step 5: Modify and Re-test
After your first test run, try to modify your paper boom to hold more weights or use less materials and hold the same amount of weight or more! You can either make your bridge as simple as the first picture or as complicated as the second picture. However you want to make it, this quick activity will make a fun building activity to encourage design thinking!