First-Grade Engineersby: Nazan Uludag Bautista and Kari Nichole Peters

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Can students build a house that is cost effective and strong enough to survive strong winds, heavy rains, and earthquakes? First graders in Ms. Peter’s classroom worked like engineers to answer this question. They participated in a design challenge that required them to plan like engineers and build strong and cost-effective houses that would fit their environment by using the available financial and natural resources. To help students have a more meaningful design experience, this project integrated science, technology, math, and social studies.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:04 PM

This article is a great resource to use in the classroom for first grade students. Students are able to use what they know from stories (The three little pigs) and apply that to science. I love how the author wrote out each step that they took to build on their research while working on the project. The author also gives examples of alternate ways to gain information (for example if a student does not have a computer at home). Throughout the article, the author explained each stem of the engineering design process in the house project. I would have liked to read about how the students used the engineering design process. I would have given the students extra time to fix their houses if they did not hold up to the wind, rain and earthquake and ask the students why they are using the new materials that they decide to use. Overall, this article is a great way to integrate technology, math and engineering into the classroom.

Hannah J
Hannah J

  • on Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:38 AM

This article explains an engineering activity used in first grade that incorporates science and math. Students are required to build a cost effective house that can withstand "wind," "rain," and an "earthquake" (tests completed in the classroom, not actual weather events). Students must create their houses with materials they "buy" from a class store to incorporate their math skills. Overall, a fun and enriching experience!

Megan Doty
Megan Doty

  • on Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:57 PM

First grade students are challenged to build a cost effective house after learning about houses in their community and around the world. Materials are provided and houses are tested. This challenge is a way to get very young children into a problem based activity. It is a great activity to introduce young children into STEM activities.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon May 16, 2011 9:54 AM

This article outlines a real world design challenge that a class of first graders did to learn about building safe homes. I liked how the authors did a great deal of background knowledge building before starting the design phase of the project so students would be making informed decisions on what materials they used to build their houses. The teachers tested the home for three events-wind, rain and earthquakes. I wish they had isolated the design challenge for each of these events. I also wish that they had given students a chance to redesign their house after the first round of testing so students could improve upon their original designs.

Kate  (Louisville, CO)
Kate (Louisville, CO)

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