Week Sixty-Seven: Family Structures Superstars

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December 11, 2017 by WittyLibrarian

lotsoftowersProgram Title: Family Structures Superstars!

Target Age Range: All Ages, Families

Program Length: 90 Minutes

Brief Description: Families work together to build a variety of fun structures.

Supplies:
Family Structure Instructions
Small cups
Piece of paper
Large cups
Marshmallows
Toothpicks
Paper Plate
Pennies
Index Cards
Straws
Masking Tape
Aluminum Foil
Optional: Plastic Baggies

Cost: $-$$

Advanced Preparation:
suppliesOptional: We counted out index cards, straws toothpicks, and marshmallows into rubber-banded or bagged batches, enough for each family. When families checked in, they were handed a gallon-sized baggie with all pre-measured supplies and the instructions.

Program Outline:
This program was designed as a DIY event. All families were greeted at the door to the program room, and given a bag of supplies and an instruction packet for six different projects. Additional materials were set out on the tables and counters. Families were encouraged to do the projects in any order they wished, and to take as much time as they liked for each project.

The six structures were:

  • Small Cup Towers
  • Large Cup Towers
  • Marshmallow Structures
  • Index Card Stacks
  • Straw and Tape Structures
  • Aluminum Foil Building

Procedure:

  • Small Cup Towers and Large Cup Towers
    smallcuptowersThis project was based of a previous structure program we did . Families built small structures out of cups on a piece of paper, and when finished, shook the sheet of paper to see if the structure stood. For the larger cups, they attempted to see how tall they could make a tower.
  • Marshmallow and Toothpicks
    marshmallowtowerAlso based off a previous program, at this activity, families were given a small amount of toothpicks and marshmallows, and given instructions to see what geometric shapes they could make out of the supplies.

 

  • Index Card stacks
    indexcardsThis project was inspired both by the classic activity of building towers out of playing cards and by the classic team-building project. Instead of playing cards, families were given index cards to build towers out of.
  • Straw and Tape Structures
    strawWe had previously done a similar project at a Fun Family Science event, and re-used it for this program. Families were given a limited number of straws and unlimited amounts of masking tape, and made various structures out of those two items.
  • Aluminum Foil Building
    For this project, families were given a roll of aluminum foil, and were guided to create whatever they could imagine. It was a free-form building exercise.

 

Handouts:

Family Structure Instructions

Resources Used:

Week Thirty-Five: Structures

Week Fifty-Nine: Fun Family Science, Second Edition

Week Sixty-Three: Fun Family Science, Third Edition

talltowerWhat we would do differently:
This was an exceptionally fun and successful program. Almost all of the projects were ones we had done before, but they were now all grouped together for themed purposes. The room was abuzz was laughter and excitement for the entire 90 minutes, and some truly amazing structures were created. What really amazed us was how each family adapted the instructions to suit themselves; by the end of the program, families were using the supplies from each activity to make unique buildings of their own. We would do this program again, exactly as planned. This was a unanimous hit!

Adaption for older/younger audience:
This program was based off of several previous programs we offered (see resourced used), although primarily from Structures. It works well with all ages, as free building is universally fun. When offering the program for kids alone, regardless of age, we recommend setting time limits per activity, rather than letting them pick and choose which one to work on.

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