Third grade students will soon begin Unit 8 and the study of bridges. Bridge building can be serious stuff; so serious that when the Broolyn Bridge opened in 1883, many residents feared to cross. Folks had never seen such a massive structure. Was it safe? Could it hold a significant amount of weight? In order to test the bridge, P.T. Barnum's elephants--all 21 of them--paraded across. Two picture books, Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing and Twenty-One Elephants, tell the fascinating tale. Students may wish to compare & contrast the two stories of this historic event.
A recent reader contribution features the creative extensions that might result from this unit. Although the arch bridge lessons suggest a paper arch bridge, one third grader decided to make an arch with household items: legos and playdough. His labeled photo is shown at left, complete with alligator.