Saturday, April 1, 2017

Forest Friday: Using engineering skills to build fairy houses

The new national science standards, which are slowly being adopted by states across the country, ask students to explore and know engineering skills, including planning, building, and finding solutions. I decided to put these ideas into practice in the classroom when I noticed that several fairy houses were being built in the forest during recess time. I also saw several students writing books such as "How to Build a Fairy House" during Writers Workshop time. So we decided to turn it into a larger project that would also incorporate science and engineering skills!

First, we wrote a how-to book about how to build a fairy house. I forgot to take a picture of this, but we had lots of experts in the classroom that could help us fill in the steps.

Next, we went on a hike to collect materials for our houses.

We looked at some existing fairy houses for inspiration:

The next week, we laid out our materials and made a plan for our house in our science journals. I was so impressed with the details and dedication in these plans!

Then we got to work. The houses turned out amazing!

We got pretty muddy in the end, so had to wipe our feet on some snow that had stuck around in early spring.

Overall it was a very cool project, and I'm so proud of how creative and hard-working the kids were! Sadly most of the houses didn't last long, since other grades use the forest during recess. But it was still worth the effort!

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