Building A Foundation
“Designing the Good Life”
Lesson Plan for 3rd Grade
Prepared by Jessica Yandell & Julie Davis
OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
Persistence: Trying again, and again even when it gets hard
The purpose of this lesson is to show students that they each have different ideas in their head and they have to work within teams to collaborate and communicate kindly and effectively to get the job done.
This lesson teaches that all problems, new and unsolved are often challenging, we must learn from our failures. To make something that is creative and useful, we must be willing to overcome hard problems and collaborate effectively to succeed.
- 21st century collaboration skills
- 21st century communication skills
- CSTA Computer Science Standards
- ISTE Standards
- Integrated Math, English Language Arts, and Science Standards
- Outline steps to complete a structural engineering challenge
- Predict and discuss potential issues in structure creation
- Build a structure based on team plan
- Revise both plan and structure until they satisfy challenge
- Structure must have a purpose and a function
- How to share responsibility in the engineering design process.
- Being respectful of our words, and encourage others
- Understanding the good of the team over their own viewpoint- how to compromise
- Building Elements
- Gumdrops (30 each group)
- Straws (15 each group)
- Ruler for checking height
- Object for testing structure strength
- After the structures are built, recap with the following questions:
- Did your team work well together today?
- Why or why not?
- Did you both work on building the structure?
- Did you listen to each other?
- Were your ideas listened to?
- Did your team ask for help when you needed it?
- Did you follow your student contract page?
- Did your team finish the day’s assignment to your satisfaction?
- Why? Why not?
Building a Foundation:
Have you ever started on a task, then discovered it was much harder than you thought it would be? Challenging tasks can make us want to give up, but by sticking to our goal and keep trying, we can succeed!
In this challenge, we’ll work to construct a strong building that serves a purpose in our community. The building must have a strong foundation, and be able to hold an object for 10 seconds!
- Determine the student contract, conflict resolution
- Use only the supplies provided to build the building
- The building can be any shape, but it has to be at least as tall as a plastic cup
- Record each step of the building process
- The building must support the weight of a textbook for a full 10 seconds
- The building must serve a purpose in our community
- Students are divided into teams of two or three
- Explain the rules of the Challenge, above
- Provide each group with limited supplies and make it known that they will get no more
- Challenge the class to think ahead to the problem and plan out their method of building their first building
- Encourage students to begin building, then have them alert you when they think they’ve met the challenge by the rules
- Test each structure. Is it taller than the cup? Does it support a book for a full 10 sec?
- Congratulate the students as they succeed and take pictures of the buildings!
3rd Grade Building a Foundation Recap by Jessica Yandell
Building a Foundation:
This week, I was working with a third grade class and the challenge was to construct a strong building out of fifteen straws and thirty gumdrops that serves a purpose in our community. The building must have a strong foundation, and be able to hold an object for 10 seconds!
I started the project lesson by asking the class what is teamwork? As I listened to the students, many of them were saying “it is working together with someone,” which drove me to ask, “when you work with someone, could you experience disagreements?” At the beginning I wanted the students to be thinking about collaboration and good communication.
I then presented the conflict resolution student contracts that offer each team a list of five options they can choose from when a disagreement must be resolved. In this experience, I found it would have been more beneficial to pass out the contracts to the students, then go over them aloud, and take each group through a trial round using the contracts. I feel if my approach with introducing the contract would have been more efficient, the students would have referred to them more during the project. Lesson learned for the next time!
During the project, I walked up and down the room observing the interactions among group members. There was a lot of communication and collaboration taking place, but what caught my attention the most was the different challenges each group encountered. The main challenge most groups encountered was keeping their structure upright. I gave a little advice to the groups that asked, but this project was meant to be challenging, so I wanted them to come up with ideas.
Things I would have changed:
- Introducing the contracts
- I would have used popsicle sticks, or toothpicks instead of the straws; the straws were a little challenging for that age to stick into the gumdrops
- I would have asked them to take turns building the structures because four hands on a little structure at one time was too much!