Engineering Waterfalls

After visiting the deCordova Rain Gates (see blog post below), the students wanted to construct their own waterfalls. We divided the children into teams to construct waterfalls and streams. Each team had an equal amount of bricks, logs, and wooden blocks. They could build to a maximum of 24" tall and had to construct something that water could flow through. The groups went to work and you can imagine the discussions and challenges they faced. By the time 10 a.m. rolled around, two of the three groups were well on their way. One group was so interested in building a structure high, they had to rebuild it many times over because of the continuous collapses. Some other challenges that arose were erosion, absorption, and structural integrity. There were times when we would pour water down the fall and immediately the water would seep through the sand. After incorporating leaves and rocks, the students had better results!