Aztec Suspension Bridge STEAM Challenge


In my Year 3 class, we are currently looking at ‘Chocolate’. As part of this topic, we are investigating what the Spanish conquistadors learnt from the Aztecs. In literacy, we are going to be writing instructions and I wanted to link it to our topic. As a school, we are prioritising STEAM and so I thought I’d set my class the goal of building an Aztec suspension bridge, using only straws, string, masking tape and paper. The bridge would have to span a gap of 50cm and hold a school thesaurus.

The end goal with our bridge building is for the children to write a set of instructions for the building process. We wanted something practical for the children to write about, whilst also developing their problem-solving skills.

Suspension bridge in Pokhara, Nepal

The children used iPads to document the design and build process using the built-in Camera app. They then imported these photographs into the Shadow Puppet app (@puppet Shadow Puppet by Seesaw on Twitter)) a very useful app from the team behind Seesaw (@seesaw Seesaw on Twitter) (See Mrs Chadd’s review: Mrs Chadd reviews Seesaw ).

This app allowed the children to order their photographs, annotate them and record and orally rehearse their instructions. Once completed you have a video that is very easy to export. At the moment I am eagerly using Seesaw as often as possible and so the children exported their videos to this amazing app. From there I will use Seesaw to produce QR codes for the videos so that the children can take their parents through the design process in their showcase next week.

Early next week the children will use the completed videos: ordered, annotated and explained, to help them write up their own complete instructions.


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