Welcome to the Wonder Dig Site

Welcome to the Wonder Dig Site

Howdy, Camper! Welcome to the area of Camp where we’re uncovering Earth’s secrets, one dig at a time!

We love WONDERing about geology, the science of solid Earth, its rocks and the processes by which they change. Geology allows us to look into Earth’s past and explore what the world was like before any of us was here!

Shaking things up with earthquakes, rocks that melt into lava, fossils from millions of years ago – get ready to dive deep into these Wonders and more at the Wonder Dig Site!

Maker Activity

Your team of wandering (and WONDERing) geologists comes across a deep canyon that must be crossed to continue your research. Your challenge is to build the strongest bridge possible that spans a distance of ten inches using only gumdrops and toothpicks.

What you'll need

  • 20 gumdrops
  • 40 round toothpicks
  • Paper clip
  • Pennies (or other weights)
  • Small paper or styrofoam cup

Hands On!

1

First, sketch different designs you can use to build a bridge. Try using triangles, squares, and other shapes as the basis of your blueprints.

Wonderuptions:Which polygon shape will help you build the strongest bridge?

2

Test your bridge design by placing it across the two stacks of books 10 inches apart. Does it hold up with no added weight? Use the paper clip to hook the cup to center of the bridge. Add pennies to the cup to test the strength of the bridge. Record your results in a chart.

3

Repeat step 2 using different bridge designs. Which polygon is the strongest?

Why does that happen?

You probably discovered the triangle is the strongest shape in construction. A square (and other polygons with more than three sides) can be bent into many different forms (with many different angles), but the triangle always keeps the same shape. It is the strongest polygon because its angles cannot change once the triangle is built.

Can the square be made stronger by adding triangles? Yes! If you start with a square, you can add a diagonal between opposite corners to make it very strong. Adding a diagonal to a square actually make two triangles inside of the square. Since each triangle is strong, the new reinforced square is stronger as well.

Geology

Recommended Books

Preschool - Age 8

Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch, Illustrated by Susan Swan

Barnum’s Bones by Tracey Fern, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

A Rock Is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illustrated by Sylvia Long

Ages 9 - 13

Eruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch, photographs by Tom Uhlman

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

Black Gold: The Story of Gold in Our Lives by Albert Marrin

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Ages 14 and up

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson