You may be familiar with the concept of a mystery bag. After being given a bag full of mystery items, the challenger must get creative and build a specific item out of the assortment. This specific challenge is an engineering mystery challenge, in which the goal is to construct different models out of whatever is in the mystery bag. Here are some tips:
- What to fill the bag with: Any materials that could be used for small-scale construction like – index cards, straws, tape, rubber bands, paper cups, toothpicks, paper clips, popsicle sticks, etc. But do try and keep the number of materials to a minimum so that your child really has to think creatively in order to accomplish their task.
- First project: A marshmallow launcher is a great project to start with. Children must figure out how to use their materials to launch a marshmallow as far as they can. If you want, you can even have your child build multiple models in order to see which techniques work best.
- Second project: A suspension bridge is a slightly more advanced project, but totally doable. A hole punch or a pair of scissors will be particularly helpful with this one, as well as a picture of a real or drawn suspension bridge. The key is for your child to figure out how to hold up the “road” using only a few pillars and some string.
- Third project: The last one is a classic. Have your child craft a protective structure for an egg that will help the egg to survive a fall from a high place. They are sure to get super creative trying to save their egg. Have fun testing out their creation! This is another one where it’s great to build multiple models and see what works best.
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