What you need:
- Bucket or bowl.
- Test different ways the clothespins can connect to each other.
- Test how the clothespins can connect to the bucket.
- Connect the clothespins together so that they connect on each side of the bucket creating a bridge from one side to the other.
- Experiment with the strength of your creation. Does it hold a small toy?
- Add layers or redesign the bridge so that it holds more weight.
- Run tests and improve your bridge each time.
Ways to Expand the Activity:
- Add a time constraint. Can you create a bridge that holds weight in seven minutes?
- Add one other material. What happens when popsicle sticks are added? Or straws? Does it make it easier or more difficult to create?
What Kids Learn:
- Density is what decides whether an object sinks or floats in water. If something is less dense than water, it floats. If something is more dense than water, it sinks.
- Basic engineering skills. Engineers solve problems with constraints. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
- Fine motor skills. Kids practice using the small muscles in their hands later used for writing.
- Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!