This activity is quite simple. The challenge is to create a bridge with a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 piece of paper across a 10 inch gap. Paperclips are available but may not be used to attach to the boxes or containers that form the gap.
Recently, I had the chance to share it with Jenna Segall's fifth graders at Palo Verde Elementary School. It was great to see the fifth graders brainstorm ways to construct a strong paper bridge, keep working on their bridges, celebrate their success, and recognize the strength of triangles. This activity definitely helps learners of all ages understand the iterative process of design thinking. One attempt that I haven't seen to that point was tearing the piece of paper in half and trying to make it a longer piece of paper with the paperclips. Such a simple step and yet no one had tried it before when I did the activity with so many people.
Jenna will soon lead this activity with the summer school staff members as our second design thinking professional development activity.