Bridge building with gumdrops and toothpicks. Why not?
Susan says, “Sometimes the easiest way to understand a complex problem is to break it down into its smallest parts. Here even children can understand the basics of spanning a river with the added bonus of gumdrops to eat. I clearly remember my physics professor standing on a rotating stand with a bucket of water in each hand to show that she’d rotate faster with the buckets by her side and slower if she extended her arms out. To this day I am not sure what she was demonstrating (anyone?) but the idea is firmly planted in my mind that buckets out=slow and buckets in=fast. Breaking complex ideas down into simple visuals or, better yet, having your audience actually try a simple exercise, is a terrific way to present with lasting effect.”
Lucia says, “What a terrific idea! This was the opening celebration of the new Sellwood Bridge in Portland. A few days before the bridge opened to traffic, people were able to walk across it and enjoy music, exhibits, food, and the view. Here we see a clever activity. People, children mostly, transformed an idea from 2D to 3D (notice the schematic in the center of the gumdrop bridges). That was clever enough, but add to it that they were building replicas of the old Sellwood Bridge (a little nostalgia, here, maybe?), while sitting on the new one. What a great way to bring a concept into the physical world.”
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