Saturday, October 19, 2013

Craft Stick Truss Bridges

We have been having so much fun in our new Maker Lab this year. The kids are going crazy with building. One that we had a lot of fun with was a craft stick truss bridge. I find that getting the students excited about a project will instantaneously bolster their creativity. The bridges are a perfect example.

We started with a simple 46-stick bridge like this one.

After building we decided to try it out! How much can the bridge hold? Two soup cans were just a bit too much weight for this bridge...

Then we decided to give a life-sized 12-foot bridge a try! You can drive past our school and see it for yourself!

Do you want to try the craft stick truss bridge out at home or in your classroom? I just posted a tutorial at my TeachersPayTeachers Store with full color instructions for just $1.99. Click here to check it out!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monarch Butterfly Fun

My grandson held still just long enough for a Monarch to land!

Did you know that you can grow your own Monarch butterflies? I recently had a friend who showed me how. I think it is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the butterfly life cycle in the classroom. Not only is it educational, it's hands-on and really amazing to see the transformation from egg to adult butterfly!

Check out my new learning guide to Growing Monarch Butterflies in your Classroom!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rockets in your Classroom

Just in! We have brand spanking new product posted at our TPT Store. This Brain Brigade Learning Guide to Rockets will introduce your students to rockets right inside of your classroom.

The guide will give you and your students a discussion of Newton's Third Law of Motion, detailed directions on a variety of rockets for your students to build (plus templates to use!), and a Saturn V scale drawing activity. Launching rockets are one of my favorite classroom activities that I have been doing for many, many years. Students learn general science while also having a blast!

I also linked up to an awesome Teacher Tuesday blog chock full of resources - stop by Late Night Coffee to see some of the fun resources incredible teachers are dreaming up and sharing. I'm encouraged and inspired after perusing many of their ideas!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pi Day!

Measuring diameter.
My class discovered the value of Pi by measuring the diameter and the circumference of a number of circular objects. We then divided the circumference by the diameter and got close to Pi in every instance.

We used 5-quart ice cream covers, soft drink covers, Lego tires of various sizes, and cardboard pizza rounds, and various other circles.

One student asked, "Does this work with every circle? Would it work with the size of the earth?"

We googled the diameter and circumference of the Earth and divided them.

Our results?


After that we celebrated with cherry pie and whipped cream!


Friday, March 15, 2013


Breakfast on our fire that we started with flint and steel.
My fifth grade students studied books on survival during January and February. We read Hatchet, Brian's Winter, Call It Courage, and Frozen Stiff. Based on our research of survival skills and knowledge gleaned from the books we planned a "Survival Night" out on the prairie.

Last weekend we built our shelter, cooked over a campfire, and gathered firewood. The temp was about 38 during the day and dropped to 20 at night.

We took away some valuable lessons! We were warm enough when our fire was going but did not have enough wood to last the entire night. We also should have set up our shelter on snow, not concrete.

Looks like we have some work to do before starring on Survivorman!

The kids had a great time and said they would do it again. I'd call that a success!

We built our shelter next to the fire to capture heat.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Thanks for stopping by!

Brain Brigade is an educational service business. We bring hands-on learning to students!

We strive to help teachers and students exceed Common Core State Standards in unique and fun learning environments. We transform Science, Technology, Engineering and Math from textbooks to hands-on learning experiences.Brain Brigade programs are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) based and designed for kindergarten through eighth grade students. Students are challenged at each level.

Are you a teacher looking for new ideas?
Visit our Brain Brigade Store at TeachersPayTeachers. We add about one product per week for download! Do you have a specific need? Let us know! We can create a product for you.

Students and Schools 
We love you too! We can help enhance your school with after school programs, home school programs, science summer camps, school assemblies, individual and group tutoring, and awesome birthday parties in the Milwaukee and Madison surrounding areas! Contact us by visiting our website or facebook to learn more!