Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Last Straw

Today, we built bridges. Out of straws. In speech class.

Yes, I'm serious, and no, I haven't lost it. But I'm sure my students thought so for awhile, since I didn't explain until later why we were doing arts and crafts fit for first graders.

To test the bridges, we started out by piling on a small bag of Jolly Ranchers. No problem.
You can see, that was a piece of cake for both of the straw bridges.
So we had to upgrade to textbooks, but even then the straw bridges held up.
Finally, we piled everything that wasn't breakable on those bridges, hoping to have a winning design emerge. This picture makes it clear that it didn't happen -- both designs were strong enough to take whatever we threw at them.

The lesson was designed to demonstrate the principles of group work and leadership... and it worked. But what stood out to me was how these cheap straws, plastic cups, and dollar store tape held together under so much weight.

They aren't high-quality products. They're not strong at all -- the straws are even the ones with the bendy tops. None of these things were designed for building miniature bridges. Yet under all that unexpected pressure, weight, burden... they managed to do the job just fine.

5 comments:

...love Maegan said...

..and now I aim to be as strong as those cheap 99cent bendy straws. ;) .amazing.

walkingonsunshine18 said...

what a great way to teach leadership! :)

Jacky said...

I think that's so cool! ;) Great illustration. I'll have to keep that in mind. Not that I really have anywhere to use it...but hey. It works. ;)

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Yaya said...

What a great activity!

TallGuySurfing said...

Amazing! What an awesome lesson!