Building Toothpick Bridges by Jeanne Pollard served as the foundation for a fun building project for fifth-grade students at Battle Ground Elementary School. Teacher Christine Williams asked her students to build a bridge out of Popsicle sticks. The mission was to build a structure that could hold as much weight as possible, but could only be one Popsicle stick tall and five long. Students formed groups and took on the roles of managers, accountants and architects.
Once completed, classes gathered in the gym to see their bridge creations put to the test. Mrs. Williams placed the bridge between two tables, strapped a bucket to the middle and began to place weights into the bucket one by one. Some students jumped and cheered, while others were so anxious they had to cover their eyes or turn away. Mrs. Williams kept adding weights until the bridge would snap and fall into pieces.
Student Michael Burton says his team members were excited to see their bridge could hold 65 pounds. "We started from the bottom," says Michael. "We had to work our way up and make some corrections along the way, but in the end, the two sides connected and held strong."
Mrs. Williams says is very proud of how well the students worked in teams. The winning Popsicle bridge held 75 pounds.