“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” says famous mathematician Isaac Newton.
Will it be a big fail or a huge success, many children asked themselves right before their bridge was tested. ¨Crack” was the noise that would continue throughout the day as children from Franklin Elementary test the strength of the bridges they worked so hard on. For the ninth year, students in the Math Achievement Program (MAP) led by Ms. JoAnn Mendl built a toothpick bridge to enhance their love and continued understanding of at math. Ms. Mendl says, “Each bridge holds between 4 ounces to a few pounds.” Everybody thinks it’s fun, but it also helps the kids in fourth and fifth grade learn higher level skills.
Their experience really enhances their love for math and also give us a taste of the real world problems and success. The project manager learned how to be organized and manage a group. The architect learned how to use math to draw the plans for the bridge. “The hardest part was making sure that the bridge building went the same as my plans. For example, if one little toothpick was at the wrong angle it could mess up the bridge when it was fully together,” shared architect for the group of American Toothpick Trust Samantha Cooper. The carpenter learned how to follow strict instructions from the architect. The accountant learned how to use math to calculate a budget and not go over. “The hardest part about being an accountant is to calculate how much of everything you can buy and making the calculations perfect,” claimed accountant Maggie O'laughlin from the group of Worldwide Building. The transportation chief learned how to follow orders from everybody. “I thought it was hard because nobody listens to our ideas,” said transportation chief Lexie M. from the company MECH.
All in all it was a fantastic experience from all of the people in the MAP group. Everybody did a great job and maybe one of the kids in a group will be the next Washington Roebling who helped construct the Brooklyn Bridge.
Emily Hickey is a Fourth Grader at Franklin Elementary School.