Structural Engineer: Designing a Shelf for an Elf

In this adventure, students will think like a structural engineer and design a shelf for an elf to sit on.


  1. Kathy Zeitler on January 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    Such a fun activity and so timely! Several students were able to successfully design a shelf that supported the weight of each elf.

  2. Elizabeth Tubens on January 29, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    My students enjoyed making the shelf. I bought red and green pom poms from Walmart so the kids could decorate the shelf with Christmas colors. I emailed everyone at my school the day before I taught this and I was able to get plenty of cardboard that way. I especially like how the students revised their models as the weight of the elf got heavier. This really helped them work on those problem-solving skills. Through this lesson, students were able to practice having a growth mindset by doing something fun in a safe environment where they are allowed to make mistakes, fix them, and try again. Lessons like this really do encourage kids to not give up on themselves and always keep trying. More than anything, I think that is what my students took away from this lesson, which is exactly what they needed.

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