Friday, November 11, 2016

Learning about Fall and STEAM: Nature Structures

Learning About Fall and STEAM: Nature Structures
Lesson Plan for Preschool
Prepared by Mrs. Davis

Preschoolers are currently studying Fall and what happens during this season. The purpose of this lesson is to look for nature associated with the fall season and engineer artistic structures of their collected treasures from their nature walk.


  1. Introduction to engineering
  2. Introduction to building
  3. Introduction to problem solving
  4. Critical thinking and transfer
  1. Students will collect items on a nature walk that show signs of fall
  2. Students will learn through trial and error the basics of creating sound structures 
  3. Students will work to create a structure equal to the height of a Solo cup that represents their fall collections.
  1. Solo cups
  2. Pipe cleaners
  3. Collected things from nature that represent fall (i.e.- sticks, acorns, changing leaves, pinecones)
  • Did you compare your structure to the height of the cup?
  • Why did you pick the items you did on the nature walk?
  • How did you make sure your structure would stand up tall?
  • What did you do?
  • What did you learn?
  • What questions do you have?


Students will be shown an example of a nature structure and shown how to twist pipe cleaners to secure "nature items" and create a solid base. Students will then be given their collection of "nature items" that they collected on the nature walk the previous day as well as a Solo cup. Students will then start creating their structures and comparing them to the height of the cup to see if they have engineered a structure as required.

Adapted from (

Recap by Julie Davis:
What a fun project with preschoolers! The hardest part was when I realized they didn't all know how to twist a pipe cleaner. We did a lot of on the spot teaching and talking about how feet and legs support us. We talked about how heavy objects cause the structure to not want to stand up well so it meant supporting them more. It was exciting to see the students learning how to measure and gauge their structures to see if they were as tall as the cup. It was also interesting to see them learn how to twist the pipe cleaner around objects. What a great way to introduce structure and engineering to their unit on Fall!

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