Cottage Lane Students’ New NY K’NEX Bridge

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum was as excited as his young students when project officials paid a second visit to Cottage Lane Elementary School.

“Fifth-grade science has a unit of study on bridge design that teaches engineering science,” Tanenbaum said. “Doing engineering with them, and building the K’NEX bridge, has been a wonderful experience.”

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

And since he’d never seen K’NEX pieces, Tanenbaum learned along with them. The bridge model — which includes cars, bicycles and a kayak or two below the spans — is prominently displayed and has gotten much attention.

“My students were thrilled to be part of the project in their own way. It’s hands-on learning for them to figure out how to engineer a copy of the bridge,” Tanenbaum said.

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

Year two of project officials’ five-year Educational Outreach Program focuses on “A Solid Foundation.” Unveiled in October 2013, the program, interest quickly spread. Well, that might be an understatement.

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

“They brought in part of the rebar, which is the size of your arm. The kids were excited to see and touch it,” Tanenbaum said of the presentation, which focused on the concrete batch plants and how the foundations are being constructed.

Tanenbaum was bicycling on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s shared use path with the I Lift NY set out for New York last December. The kids tracked its six-week progress with a geography lesson or two added for good measure.

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

New York State is considering adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. “The engineering standards especially are wonderful, and the kids have a real-life model in their neighborhood,” he said. And how!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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