Maker + STEM in 2nd grade library

In the middle trimester, 2nd grade students have focused on Balance and Motion in their science curriculum. A key component is learning about – and building – bridges.

So for the last 2 weeks (Feb 26 & Mar 4 … no school Mar 10) , the library jumped on the building bridge bandwagon. Week 1, we read about building bridges and thinking like an engineer, listening to Andrea Beatty’s Iggy Peck, Architect.  And in week 2 students became Junior Architects, reviewing principles in bridge design before constructing bridges using wood blocks.  (NOTE: We have 11 sets of wooden blocks, thanks to a PTA grant.)

In both lessons, students listed and reviewed bridge vocabulary (abutment, span, arch, beam, etc) learned in the classroom. This was a huge learning moment for me, as I never studied bridges and knew almost no bridge-building terminology!  Prior to construction, students were partnered and given one direction: their bridge must have at least ONE feature that they could point out and explain. And they did, with great success.

This was, in a word, FUN. Giggles and happy comments ensued from successful structures and opportunities to redesign alike…and there were many redesign opportunities, as students wanted their bridges to be symmetrical and use Every Single Block in their box.  It was also hands-on, educational, STEM-based, and included Makerspace principles.

Now, to find another way to use these blocks in our weekly classtime…

One thought on “Maker + STEM in 2nd grade library

  1. Julie C. Doepken

    I put out blocks and homemade cardboard squares with notches cut out along the sides out during check out time. Once kids are done checking out, they can build. If someone forgot their books, there are blocks for them to focus on rather than possible undirected behavior.


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