A big part of STEM activities in elementary are engineering activities for kids. Constructing bridges out of various materials like this q tip bridge and testing them has long been a staple of the classic bridge building engineering challenge, but for this version, I used cotton swabs because I was out of toothpicks and it seemed like they would work just as well. Sometimes necessity really is is the mother of invention! The results of this cotton swab engineering challenge were surprisingly fun and the designs that the kids created were unique and they had a blast making them.
I highly recommend the q tip bridge for a fun engineering challenge for elementary kids in the classroom or at home!
QTip Bridge Challenge STEM Lesson Plan
Making a bridge is a classic STEM engineering challenge for kids. This fun twist uses cotton swabs and not only adds a unique look to the bridge, but it also makes it easy for the students to construct suspension bridges with their cotton swabs.
Find the complete lesson plan for the Q tip bridge STEM challenge below, but first, make sure you have everything you need to know and have on hand to teach this fun engineering lesson!
What Do Kids Learn with Engineering Challenges?
Engineering challenges are a great way to encourage kids to explore STEM fields in a fun and creative way. They can be done at home or in the classroom, and they provide an opportunity for kids to develop spatial awareness, problem-solving skills, creativity, and more.
Benefits of engineering challenges:
- Encourages STEM exploration
- Promotes creative thinking
- Improves spatial awareness
- Gives hands-on experience with tools and materials
- Illustrates how things learned at school can be applied in everyday life
How to Build a Suspension Bridge for Kids
Engineering challenges are a great way to teach kids about the world around them and how things work. This q tip bridge STEM challenge provide kids a hands-on way to learn about the engineering process, design and creativity.
The q tip bridge building challenge is a classic engineering challenge that is suitable for kids of all ages. The aim of this challenge is to build a bridge that is the most stable design, which many students will soon find out is similar to a suspension bridge. This type of game is great for teaching kids about how bridges work and how they are built.
Follow along with the lesson plan below to learn how to teach the q tip bridge STEM challenge to students! Before getting started, make sure you have all the materials you need for this project.
Supplies for the Suspension Bridge STEM Challenge
Here is what you will need for each group of students.
- Low-temp, battery powered hot glue guns and glue sticks (this one is designed for kids and comes with fun colored glue)
- Cotton swabs (use colorful ones for even more fun!)
- STEM journal
- Construction paper
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Q Tip Bridge STEM Challenge Discussion Questions
Here are some questions you can ask your students before, during, and after they complete their hands-on bridge building challenge.
- What are some of the challenges that you faced during the building process?
- What is a suspension bridge?
- How do suspension bridges work?
- How different was your final design from your original design sketch?
- What type of bridge do you think is the most able to withstand severe weather?
- What type of bridge is the most cost effective?
More Fun Engineering STEM Challenges for Kids
If you like this bridge building engineering challenge, you’ll also like these other fun engineering STEM challenges!
- Build a Crane Engineering Challenge
- Bridge Strength Test Spaghetti Engineering Project
- 5 Fun Hands-On Engineering Kits for Kids
- 20+ Simple Lego Engineering Challenges Kids Can Do Alone!
- 3D shapes building challenge
Read the complete lesson plan for this q tip bridge STEM challenge below. Print it out for easier use offline! And if you love this engineering challenge, don’t forget to pick up the FREE set of STEAMsational STEM challenge cards for elementary!