How to Build a Bridge

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By Laura


Today the puppy classroom went on a field trip to the park. They tried to cross the river but discovered that part of the bridge had been washed away. Each puppy gathered a different material which they thought would work to make a bridge.


Yellow puppy tried to use two small sticks. The kids explained why this didn’t work:

“They’re wobbly.”

“And the bridge can’t reach the other side.”

“And they need two more.”

“They end too short.”


So, Orange tried a popsicle stick. There was some discussion of using this as surfboard to ride across the river. But when Orange tried to surf the current carried the puppy back to the same side of the river.


Another puppy tried to use fabric.

Laura: Why isn’t it working?

WG: Because it’s . . . because it’s soft.

CR: It could be like that and they could just jump.

Laura: This is fabric, so it will get all wet in the river and soggy.

Laura: WG said this is too soft, what  do you mean by too soft?

WG: If you don’t nail something to a piece of wood, it won’t stay.

Laura: Should we try nailing? Or maybe tape?

Kids: Sure.

WG: Yay, this is definitely going to work.

DH: Uh, the tape will just rip off.

VG: I can hold the other side for you to tape. I’m a big helper.

WG: When you came in VG, the other day, I thought you were someone else, because you’re hair was so different.

KC: Yeah, me too!

SD: You have to do it slow.

Clearly, there were lots of ideas but ultimately, even with both side taped the fabric was too wobbly and the dogs couldn’t walk on it safely.


Then WG had the idea to put the paper that Brown had brought on top of the fabric. When I put Brown on the bridge it held. OR said, “It works!” As I reached to put more puppies on, there were many worried expressions around the circle.

Laura: What are you all worried about?

CG: Ah, it can pull it down if all the dogs go . . .

AH: It might fall down, so maybe one at a time.

Laura: Is there a way to make it sturdy enough for the whole class to go on?

OR: I think Sandy’s (orange pipe cleaner) will work better.


CR: Tie it, or wrap it.

SD: That’s gonna really work.

DH: Yeah, I know that’s gonna work.

CR: We’ll see about that folks.

WG: Oh no . . . it’s gonna be wobbly.

KC: It’s not going to work.

Laura: What are you worried about?

WG: If they walk on it, it’s gonna fall down.

AH: Maybe one at a time on this one, too.

Laura places one puppy on it and the bridge doesn’t bend at all.

SD: It can work!

Laura: Should we try another puppy?

KC: Three at a time, three at a time, I think.

Laura: It’s working pretty well, huh? Why do you think this one worked better than the paper?

DH: Cuz those two were bendy.


Eventually all the puppies made it across.

WG: That place looks . . . now the floor looks kind of beautiful. Now I wish I could go to that very place.

DH: Do you think the bridge could hold all of us?

OR: No! It would fall down.

Laura: What did the puppies learn about making a bridge?

KC: Use pipe cleaner and the wood.

Laura: What didn’t work about any of these materials?

CR: Too short.

WG: And this one was too wobbly.

Laura: And what about this one?

Several kids: Too bendy

Laura: It was too bendy or another word for that is flexible. Too flexible. Can you say that?

OR: But that one wasn’t too flexible.

Laura: Yeah it was flexible enough to bend over the wood. But not too flexible, it was more rigid. That’s the opposite of flexible–rigid.

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