Elephants Inspire Teamwork

Circus entertainer P.T. Barnum took 21 elephants over the bridge in May 1884 to show that it was safe.
Circus entertainer P.T. Barnum took 21 elephants over the bridge in May 1884 to show that it was safe.
Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe?
Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe?

The book "Twenty-One Elephants" by Phil Bildner tells the story of the fourteen-year construction of the Brooklyn Bridge completed in 1883.  Many people were intimidated by its size, worried about its strength and questioned how long it would stand.  This book inspired Mrs. Bertolino's kindergarten class to take on an engineering science challenge.  The children were asked to use various manipulatives to create a bridge that could hold 21 plastic elephants.  This hands-on learning center was a valuable tool to have students work in teams to design and plan a bridge, create it and improve the construction to complete the engineering task. What an incredible learning experience!