Today Growing with Science is hosting STEM Friday, the meme that highlights Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books for children (as well as older favorites). The STEM Friday book meme can found each week at the STEM Friday blog. It is a great resource if you are looking for the newest and best in STEM books for kids.
Author Enz is a civil engineer, and her experience shows in the details in each of the projects. Included are instructions on how to make a device that can open an close a door remotely (with strings), a newspaper fort, a trash grabber, toothpick bridge, a pet waterer and many more. Each project comes with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions with color photographs accompanying each step.
In additions to the projects, sidebars are sprinkled throughout that reveal some historically-important inventions. Did you know the can opener was invented 48 years after the invention of the tin can? Amazing!
Build It: Invent New Structures and Contraptions would be great for a busy teacher looking for a quick science or engineering project because it has complete and detailed plans. It would also be fun for the home inventor who could build the project as presented and then use the skills he or she learned to tweak the design or come with up with a whole new invention.
The book contains plans for a toothpick bridge held together with hot glue. If you want to work with younger children who aren’t ready for a hot glue gun, however, try the classic toothpicks and mini-marshmallows. The children can build bridges or towers. Hint: Fresh marshmallows can be mushy. Allow the marshmallows dry out for several days to stabilize the structure before testing or moving it.
This quick video shows some of the details.
Other materials that can be used for building bridges or towers include plastic drinking straws, craft sticks, and dried spaghetti.
Even grapes can work in a pinch, although the structure won’t be a permanent one.
These projects are sure to lead to bigger things!
More about bridges (scroll to bottom for additional links)
Build It: Invent New Structures and Contraptions by Tammy Enz
Reading level: 3-4
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2012)
Book was provided by publisher for review purposes.