Building Structures – after school science

This week at science club we learned about building strong structures. We investigated the strength of triangles by building the strongest structure we could with 4 marshmallows and 5 toothpicks. This activity and inspiration for the rest of today’s activities come from theme unit “Structures” in one of my favorite books for activities:


After discussing triangles and some famous structures with triangles (bridges, Eiffel tower, electrical tower, etc.), we set of to our main activity. The students were to build a amusement park with the materials they were given. They could make games, rides, water park activities, and food booths.

It was great to see all of the collaboration happening between this group of mostly 4th and 5th graders. The importance of working as a team became very apparent when one group could not move forward because one little boy said nobody was listening to his ideas. This was Cosmo boy’s team – a good lesson for him.

This is a zip line where you fall into the pool below. In an earthquake, the waves of the pool become big and make a wave pool.


It was a little unfortunate that I gave them materials in plastic boxes, so when they asked if they could use the boxes, I could hardly say no. They were thinking outside (or inside) the box. We must encourage creative problem solving.

After the build, the structures were tested on the “Earth quake table” and in a “wind storm” (I used a hair drier but a fan would work too).

Finally we gathered to see what our peers made, what they learned, and how they might change it given more time.

For more ideas on this topic from the talented folks at the Franklin Institute…

To order the book written by one of my heroines Dale McCreedy:

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One Response to Building Structures – after school science

  1. Tricia says:

    This is awesome!!! I love the direction your blog is going! I think C&C will be doing a lot of STEM activities, too! They are so great!

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