MaiStoryBook Library: Iggy Peck Architect by Beaty & Roberts + STEM Bridge Building Activity

Introducing the brilliantly creative children’s book featured in this week’s MaiStoryBook Library Collection:

“Iggy Peck Architect”  by Beaty and Roberts

Book Synopsis and Review

Ever since he was two, Iggy Peck has had a passion for building. From balancing towers of dirty diapers to constructing arches from pancakes and coconut cake, Iggy Peck is the master architect. However, not everyone appreciates his talent and ideas, especially not his second grade teacher. When Ms. Lila Greer demands he cease his building, Iggy Peck’s spirits are dashed and it appears that his days of designing and creating are over. That is, until one disastrous field trip when Ms. Lila Greer and the second grade class need Iggy Peck’s talents more than ever. With the help of his friends, a big idea, and a whole lot of creativity, can Iggy Peck the architect save the day?

Author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts combine their talents to create a series of children’s books about children and STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Their series promotes the rapidly growing  STEM field by celebrating the creativity and expression of young scientists and engineers. Each book follows a young child pursuing his or her passion in a STEM field despite adversity to challenges to their ideas. This book focuses on architecture and the imagination to design and build ideas. Written in rhyme, the flowing prose, engaging illustrations, and relevant topic make it the perfect book to get children excited about the wonders of science and engineering, and promote the exploration of their own fierce wonderings and creative passions.

Vocabulary List

  • Severe (p. 12) very mean
  • Avoid (p. 14) stay away from
  • Rear (p. 15)  in the back
  • Trestle (p. 22) skinny bridge
  • Cables (p. 25) the long strings or poles you see on bridges that help support the weight of the bridge

Themes/Main Ideas

  • Follow your passions and do what you love- you are never too young to pursue your dreams
  • Teamwork: You can face any challenge when you work together as a team

Vimeo Video: Guided Shared-Reading Read Aloud Example

Example of a shared-reading Read Aloud of “Iggy Peck Architect”– how to subtly introduce the vocabulary list words within the text, ask guided questions, and spark conversation!

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STEM Activity: Building Bridges

*~Introducing your child to STEM: Building Bridges out of Marshmallows and Spaghetti Sticks~*

This activity is actually adapted from a team-building classroom lesson plan and so includes introductory information leading up to STEM Bridge Building Activity. For children younger than 5, I recommend verbally reviewing the worksheet with them, and then starting with the activity. For children 5+, below is the step-by-step guide through the  activity. The activity can also be done with groups of children, so round up those siblings, or establish a new play-date hit! If it’s just you an your little one, be prepared for an afternoon of sticky hands and creative designs!

Introduction to Architecture

  • What is Architecture?
    • Designing buildings and making sure they are built the right way
  • What are some cool things architects have built in your own neighborhood?
    • Bridges, libraries, tall buildings
    • Playgrounds, Parks

ABCDE’s of Architecture

  • Ask: What is the problem you are trying to solve? What is the goal?
  • Brainstorm: What are some different ways to solve it? Sketch and label different possibilities. Try to come up with as many ideas as possible because the first idea is rarely the best one. Make sure you can explain your ideas. Keep in mind the materials you are given.
  • Design: Choose the best idea. Create a diagram and Label the parts to communicate your idea.
  • Create: Following your diagram, build the design using the given materials
  • Evaluate and rEfine: Test it. Does your design accomplish your goal? How can you make it better?
  • Link to Iggy Peck Architect:
    • What were some ABDCE’s your identified?
    • What was the problem trying to be solved?
    • How did they create the bridge?
    • Was is Successful?’
STEM Challenge: Building Bridges out of Marshmallows and Spaghetti 

For our STEM activity, individually, or in groups, you will be designing and building your very own bridges, using marshmallows and spaghetti sticks.

  • Uncooked spaghetti sticks
  • Mini marshamllows
  • A ruler
  • 2  materials (boxes or stacks of books to build the bridge across)
  • 1 weight (A small stuffed animal/ building blocks/bag of coins- something to test the strength of the bridge)

Objective/ Goal:
  • Using only marshmallows and spaghetti sticks, build a bridge spanning 12 inches (that means from one end of the bridge, to the other it must be 12 inches. Use the ruler to measure it) that is strong enough to hold *this amount of weight* (whatever your choice of weight is)

Fill out the worksheet.

Worksheet can be found HERE. First fill out steps A,B & D (from ABDCE’s).

*I did this activity with a 3rd grade class. Sample of their work are shown*

  • Ask: How do we build a __(bridge)__ that spans __(12)__inches and can hold __*your choice*__of weight using only __(marshmallows)__ and __(spaghetti)__?
  • Brainstorming: Your child/Each person must sketch an idea for the bridge in this space- so if you have 4 people in your group, you should have 4 sketches. *1 child= come up with at least 2 different designs*
  • Design:  Discuss with your child, or in groups, which design will be best. Or maybe you combine designs and ideas.  Circle which one you decide on, or draw a new one if you come up with a new idea

  • Create: You are now ready to build the bridge. Bring out materials, a handful of spaghetti sticks and mini marshmallows, the ruler, and the 2 materials. Measure a distance of 12 inches span between the 2 materials *textbooks in these examples.* Using only the marshmallows and spaghetti sticks, build a bridge that will support the test weight.

  • Evaluate: Have your child/the children explain what they built. Time to test it! Place the weight on the bridge and see if it is supportive enough. *You can continue to add more weight to test its breaking point and see how much weight your design can support. We used 1 gram cubes and started with 30 grams, consecutively adding 10 grams to test the breaking point.*


What was good about your design? What’s something you can do to make it stronger next time?

*~Overall, Have FUN watching your child become an architect and design and build their very own bridge.  Please share photos of your craft sessions and read aloud experiences below in the comments – tag me on Instagram @MaiStoryBookLibrary  – or post on FaceBook ! I’d love to hear from you!~*

*Teachers +Educators: The classroom lesson plan, including step-by-step instruction and a scripted guide to the classroom lesson, can be found here. *

*Check Back on Next Friday for our New Reading Adventure*

*~Until next time, Happy Reading~*

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