Throughout our science unit on Structures and Materials, we’ve talked about the different properties of different material types, and their benefits and draw-backs (i.e. that wood would provide more support and stability than paper). We also watched a youtube video that helped us look at the importance of triangles in helping with support “What Makes Bridges so Strong”). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVOnRPefcno)
I also chose one of the STAO resources to help with a lesson that also introduced a cross-curricular connection for my students. They have been working on the drama piece “Three Little Pigs” in Drama, so we looked at the STAO lesson that invites the students to discuss why the brick wall was the only wall that the Wolf couldn’t blow down. I liked that it invited several conversations – both that the stability of the material choice lent bricks to resisting longer than say the straw, but I also prompted them to think further at how the bricks were placed (i.e. the interlocking pattern) in order to keep them stable as well). We took this a step further by using foam blocks “bricks” and building in both a regular stacking pattern, and an interlocking stacking pattern to compare the differences (unfortunately, those pictures are not attaching for some reason!).
My students were then tasked with building structures to house a small stuffed owl that we have in our classroom. They have been enjoying using the saws to cut the pieces of wood they need for their structures, and have extended their cross-curricular connections further into our Math and measurement unit as well when making sure their pieces are equal lengths! They also enjoyed creating their 90degree angles to make sure that their walls will stand up against the weight of the roof! In some of the pictures, you can see where groups have tried to add in a cross-piece to make a make-shift triangle, and I heard the conversation amongst group members about how they had started to glue and forgot to add a triangle. I appreciated this conversation and asked how they could alter it – and that is where their cross-piece came in! It was a great teachable moment to show them how real scientists sometimes have to change their course of action mid-way when they notice things that aren’t going according to plan!