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WFE Launches New STEAM Club

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

It started with a work of historical fiction. WFE students build their own bridge using styrofoam and toilet paper rolls.

Approximately 50 Willow Field Elementary students gathered in the school’s cafeteria to hear the story of a young girl named Hannah who wanted to prove that the newly-built Brooklyn Bridge was safe to cross. When no one would believe her, she asked American showman PT Barnum and his 21 elephants for help.

Hannah’s story, which appears in Phil Bildner’s book Twenty-One Elephants, recently helped kick off the first meeting of WFE’s new STEAM Club. Each month, students will have the opportunity to stay after school to hear a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) related story, then work on a similar project of their own.

After learning about Hannah and her efforts, the WFE third- through sixth-graders were split into teams and tasked with building their very own bridge over a body of water (represented by a square on the cafeteria table). Each group member was assigned a different role (such as architect, engineer, material supplier and time keeper) and together the team designed and constructed their bridge using materials such as Styrofoam, boxes and toilet paper rolls.

After the initial build, each team had the opportunity to test their bridge and make adjustments. Then they tested their creation one final time before reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and what they could try differently the next time.

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