Every December, we do a HUGE gingerbread unit! We pack two weeks full of gingerbread math, literacy, science, and social studies activities. This gingerbread stem activity is one of our favorite activities every single year! Your class will LOVE building gingerbread bridges – whether you are in person or virtual.
If you are distance learning this December, I am going to show you how we usually complete this gingerbread STEM challenge, but then I will show you how it can be completed digitally!
Gingerbread Bridges: Setting the State
Before we introduce this December STEM challenge, we need to set the stage for why the gingerbread man needs us to build him a bridge!
We have already been reading gingerbread books all week, so we know what happens when the fox gets involved. But why can’t the gingerbread man just swim?
Well, grab a tub of water and a real gingerbread man cookie and you’ll see!
Within a minute or two, your cookie will look like this:
So now we know why the gingerbread man can’t swim. We can build him a bridge, though!
Supplies Needed for Gingerbread Bridge STEM Challenge
You may want to start collecting materials a few weeks earlier – toilet paper rolls, paper towel tubes, etc. However, if you don’t have those things, you can just grab items from around the classroom!
As you can see, this day I gave each table blocks, tubes, and popsicle sticks.
I made a river out of blue construction paper for them to build their bridge across. You can make this wider for a bigger challenge.
The plastic cup has a paper gingerbread man tapes to it. He will need to be able to sit on the bridge. Want more of a challenge? Make him heavier! Tape your gingerbread man to a can or another heavy object.
This STEM challenge is a great way to practice teamwork in the crazy month of December! Students will work together in table groups to build their bridge.
Every bridge ends up different! It’s fun to see their ideas.
Make sure they balance the gingerbread man on top at the end to make sure the bridge works!
Writing About the Gingerbread Bridges
After the STEM challenge, students drew their bridges and the supplies they used. This recording sheet is in my Gingerbread Unit.
This was a great opportunity for them to practice inventive spelling and stretching out words.
Digital STEM Challenge for Distance Learning
Wondering how you can complete this STEM challenge even though you are distance learning? It’s still possible! One option is to have students use materials around their home and take a picture.
Another option is to have students build a digital bridge:
Students can use moveable shapes and digital manipulatives to build a bridge for the gingerbread man to go across. They can still be creative, even digitally!
This digital STEM challenge is included in my Gingerbread unit.
Did you complete this gingerbread STEM activity with your students? I would love to see pictures or hear about it down below!
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