2 x 45-minute Periods
Individuals or 2 Students
In this lesson students and teachers will be introduced to the different Strawbees connectors and explore how to build shapes from an idea. This exercise is for students to discover the capabilities of Strawbees in freebuilding. Students build on ideas and add moving joints to encourage motion in Strawbees sculptures and then are challenged to transform it into physical model.
Depending on needs, this lesson can be split and taught in two 45-minute periods. With a 15 minute break seperating two sessions for a break or clean-up. An additional 15 minute session at the end is for clean-up.
Familiarity with the building capabilities using different Strawbee pieces.
Comprehend spatial reasoning about 2D to 3D shapes and how to manipulate objects in space.
Learn the techniques of construction with Strawbees such as hinges, joints, and locks.
Collaborate as a team to build on the ideas of others and transform them into visual models to come up with a solution for a challenge.
Work on problem-solving skills by rapidly prototyping their ideas and focus on fine-tuning their top idea to present.
You can precut a set of 1/2 and 1/3-sized straws for the class to use for lessons.
Place containers of materials to the side of the room until students are ready to build.
Have additional small caddies or bowls around the room on desks or the floor to collect cut or broken straws pieces to save for future projects and help with cleanup.
Begin by asking your students what are examples of inventions used.
Ask the class if they have sketched or wrote an idea down. Then ask if they made their idea physical.
Explain to students this is a process that inventors often use to make their ideas come to life by brainstorming ideas and building prototypes until they make something that works.
Introduce the building materials your students will use for creating prototypes in class: drinking straws and Strawbees!
Show a premade triangle and pyramid in front of the class. Demonstrate the best way to insert a one-legged Strawbee into a straw.
For a warm-up, pass out a few Strawbees and straws to everyone and challenge students to build a pyramid structure in 3 minutes.
At the end of time, have students lift up their creations to share for everyone to see, then lift up yours. Let your students know that sometimes they figure out how to build something by experimenting and trying many different ways to build.
To start building Strawbees structures students will have to learn about designing a base to support their structures.
Introduce another prebuilt example such as an Octohedron or Isohedron.
Give students about 20 minutes to transform increase the height of the pyramids made into something that can stand tall without falling down.
Using only Strawbees and straws, you will be giving your students an open-ended prompt for them to build a prototype for the second half of the lesson.
Challenge your students to build the tallest structure they can that does not fall down and has an element of movement.
Let students know they have around 20 minutes to build a prototype then present to the class in a showcase. Before you let your students get started, share another capability of Strawbees: movement.
Present to your students the head of a Strawbee and slide a straw through. Insert a Strawbee on both ends of the straw to show how to keep Strawbees from sliding off.
Show students how to make a friction lock with 3 one-legged Strawbees.
Pass out materials and watch your students build!
Have students set up their structures on tables for a showcase. Have everyone wander around the room to see what students have made.