Friday, May 15, 2020

STEAM Challenge - A House for the Three Little Pigs

This activity will keep you busy all week!

Read a variety of Three Little Pigs books. Ask your child how the books are the same and how they're different. Ask which one is their favorite and why. Act out the story together. Have them tell you the story in their own words. Write and illustrate a family version of the story together.

Take a walk around your neighborhood and notice all the different kinds of houses. What do all houses have in common? How are some houses different from other houses? When you get home, draw pictures of the houses you saw. Draw a picture of your own house. Draw a picture of your dream house.

Ask why the pigs' straw and stick houses blew down but their brick house didn't. 

  • straws, skewers, craft sticks, toothpicks, pencils, crayons, wood pieces, sticks, coffee stirrers, leaves, paper cups, etc.
  • tape, binder clips, rubber bands, glue, paper clips, staplers, etc.
  • scissors
  • Legos, blocks, K'nex, etc.
Build different kinds of houses using different materials. Predict which ones will blow down (and why). Test out your theory by trying to blow the houses down! Use your breath, a paper fan, or an electric fan.

When the houses fall down, try re-building them so that they don't blow down the next time. Keep trying!

Remember, it's not about building a strong house the first time. It's about figuring out why some houses fell down and others didn't. What kinds of materials are strongest? Which design is sturdiest? 

It's also about overcoming frustration and realizing that we've learned something even when our experiment has failed. We learned what didn't work. (Thomas Edison usually gets credit for that quote.)

As always, the best questions to ask during this process are: Why do you think that happened? What would happen if . . .? 

Have fun!

From: Making and Tinkering with STEM, Solving Design Challenges with Young Children by Cate Heroman (NAEYC, 2017)

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