Need a science activity for a gingerbread man unit? Try this STEM bridge building challenge!
Gingerbread man science lesson STEM bridge building challenge
Set your children this design challenge inspired by The Gingerbread Man story.
:: Bridge Building Design sheet from the Gingerbread Unit
:: loose parts such as toothpicks, sticks, drinking straws, paper, card, paperclips, sticky tape, marshmallows, jelly sweets, pipe cleaners, dried spaghetti, craft sticks, paper rolls, and/ or matchboxes
:: gingerbread man
In the classic story of The Gingerbread Man, our hero gets eaten by the fox when he can’t get across the river on his own. Let’s design a bridge so the gingerbread man can get himself over the river to safety!
Talk with your children about what makes a good bridge. What characteristics does a bridge need, what are they used for, and what are they made of? Introduce your children to the different types of bridges, including arch, beam, cable-stayed, suspension, and truss bridges.
What kind of bridge could they build to take the gingerbread man safely over the river?
Children can work alone, in pairs or as a small group to design and build a bridge from loose parts.
Use the Bridge Building Design sheet from the Gingerbread Unit so your children can draw out their design ideas first. They can add notes and explanations, and list the materials they will need.
Then invite them to build their bridge for real, using the loose parts you have available. You might include toothpicks, sticks, drinking straws, paper, card, paperclips, sticky tape, marshmallows, jelly sweets, pipe cleaners, dried spaghetti, craft sticks, paper rolls, and/or matchboxes.
You can use a piece of blue card to represent the river or fill a dish or tray with water.
Children are encouraged to collaborate and work as a team in this project. They will need to select materials carefully, carry out risk assessments, deal with the design challenge, and problem-solve. They’ll be limited by the materials available and encouraged to think creatively.
Test the bridge’s strength and suitability by having a gingerbread man walk across the bridge. (You can use a real cookie, or one of the gingerbread men from the number/letter printables in the Gingerbread Unit.)
Your children might like to vote on a winning design for your class.
Download the complete Gingerbread Unit
A deliciously educational unit of learning! The Gingerbread Unit gives you everything you need to teach an engaging program of activities all based around The Gingerbread Man.
With ideas for math, literacy, science, play, sensory, arts and crafts your children will love learning through baking, play, and exploration.
:: over 45 pages of lessons, activities, and printables
:: a complete unit of gingerbread-themed math, science, literacy, arts and crafts, sensory, and play
:: materials lists and bonus printables make it so easy!
:: everything planned for you, so you can enjoy it as much as your children do
:: fun and delicious, and packed with engaging learning