STEM

Bridge Chain Reaction

Ideal for School-Age

Plastic cups with a bridge of wooden Popsicle sticks across.

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to demonstrate an understanding of cause-and-effect, maintain focus, and sustain attention.

Materials Needed:

  • Craft sticks
  • Cups

Participants: This activity is intended for independent play for school-age children, preschoolers may need help with the initial set up.

Directions:

  1. Place 2 cups across from each other. Balance one stick across the cups.
  2. Add another cup and stick, resting the new stick (2) on the middle of the first stick.
  3. Add another cup across from the last cup and place another stick (3) with one end on the cup and one end on the middle of the new stick.
  4. Continue adding cups and sticks. Every stick will have one end on a cup and the other on the stick before it.
  5. When you have completed the bridge, remove one cup from the beginning of the bridge, and watch what happens! The way the bridge collapses is a chain reaction.
  6. Rebuild the bridge and play again. How can the cups be moved to create a new shape? Can the cups be moved to make a letter, number, or shape?

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