Halloween is the perfect opportunity to test out those design and engineering skills! This amazing Halloween STEM challenge uses just a few simple materials but has a world of possibilities. Transform simple cotton swabs into bridge-building materials with a Halloween twist. A skeleton bridge with q-tip “bones” is a creative way to explore STEM.
THE SKELETON BRIDGE CHALLENGE
STEM BRIDGE CHALLENGE
Get ready to add this simple Halloween bones bridge challenge to your STEM lesson plans this season. We did the STEM boat challenge, now test out your engineering skills, with this easy to set up STEM activity for kids. While you’re at it, make sure to check out more fun building activities.
Our STEM activities are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
HALLOWEEN BRIDGE CHALLENGE
THE HALLOWEEN STEM CHALLENGE:
Build a bridge out of only bones (aka cotton swabs) that is a minimum of one foot long and sits at least one inch off the ground or table. Sounds too easy? Or does it!
Many STEM projects use critical thinking skills as well as math, and engineering skills and this one is no exception. Attention to detail is a must and pre-planning is encouraged! This can be either a timed challenge or not.
30 minutes or more if time allows. Encourage kids to spend up to 5 minutes talking about their design ideas and doing rough sketches. then allow 20 minutes for building your bones bridge. Plus, another 5 minutes to talk about the challenge, what worked and what didn’t.
- Cotton Swabs
- 100 Pennies
DIFFERENTIATE THE CHALLENGE
Do you have older kiddos? Add an extra layer to the challenge and, create a specific type of structure or bridge or choose a type to build. Allow them a few minutes to research different types of bridges and draw out a design!
Do you have younger kiddos? Just explore the materials and test how they work together to complete the challenge simply. Set up two blocks or books and have them build a bridge spanning the distance you choose.
EXTEND THE CHALLENGE:
The bone bridge should be able to hold the weight of a roll of pennies or of another pre-determined object.
Can you build a skeleton out of the cotton swabs?
HALLOWEEN BRIDGE CHALLENGE SET UP
STEP 1: Give out supplies to each kiddo or group.
STEP 2: Give 5 minutes for a planning phase (optional).
STEP 3: Set a time limit (20 minutes is ideal) for groups or individuals to build their bridges.
STEP 4: Once the time is up, have the kids set up their bridge for everyone to see. Test out the skeleton bridge design to see how much weight it can hold.
STEP 5: If it works for you, have each kiddo share his/her thoughts on the challenge. A good engineer or scientist always shares his/her findings or results.
Ask a few questions:
- What was the most challenging thing about this Halloween STEM challenge?
- What would you do differently if you had a chance to try the bridge challenge again?
- What worked well and what didn’t work well during this STEM challenge?
STEP 6: Have fun!
MORE FUN STEM CHALLENGES
TAKE THE HALLOWEEN STEM CHALLENGE!
Click on the image below or on the link for more awesome STEM activities for kids.