Step 1: Gather materials.
- Magnetic tiles
- The book, Three Billy Goats Gruff
Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.
Step 2: Introduce activity.
- Gather the children together in a large group and invite them to share what they know about bridges.
- After the children have shared their knowledge, introduce the book, Three Billy Goats Gruff.
- Ask the children what the Billy Goats Gruff need to do in the story.
- Read the book and discuss how the Billy Goats Gruff needed to use a bridge to get to the other side of the valley to eat.
- Explain to the children that they will design and build their own bridge today.
Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.
- Gather the children in small groups and invite them to draw a bridge that they could build with blocks and magnetic tiles that would hold 20 linking cubes.
- Ask the children questions about their bridges as they draw: “What will this bridge be used for? How will people/cars/others get to the bridge? What will the bridge go over?”
- After the children have drawn designs of their bridges, invite them to construct their bridges using blocks and magnetic tiles.
- As the children build their bridges, ask questions such as: “Does this look like the original design that you drew? Do you think this will hold all 20 linking cubes?”
- After the children have finished constructing their bridges, invite them to observe all of the bridges and predict which bridges will hold 20 linking cubes.
- Invite the children to test out their designs by placing 20 linking cubes on their bridges.
- After all of the bridges have been tested, discuss and analyze with the children why some bridge designs worked to hold the linking cubes and why others did not.
- Invite the children to explore bridge building during free choice times to continue investigating bridge designs.
Step 4: Vocabulary.
- Predict: To guess what might happen next
- Design: To create a plan for something that will be built
- Test: To try out an idea to see if it works or not
- Conclude: To make statements about what was learned after an observation or experiment
- Analyze: To examine information in order to make conclusions
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- Have a limited vocabulary to participate in an extended analysis of bridge designs
- Not have the emerging fine-motor skills they need to draw precise bridge plans
Child care providers may:
- Omit extended conversations and focus on bridge construction with materials
- Omit drawing plans before constructing bridges
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
- Be able to use more difficult materials to construct bridges
- Want to test bridge designs using materials other than linking cubes
Child care providers may:
- Provide children with a variety of materials to construct bridges
- Provide children with heavy materials to test bridges
- Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting
- A Book of Bridges: Here to There and Me to You by Cheryl Keely
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
Music and Movement
- The London Bridge Game
- Bridge Yoga: Invite the children to think of different ways that they can pose their bodies like a bridge
- Take the children on neighborhood expeditions to find bridges