The 3 little pigs has always been one of my favorite units to teach in grade 1. The students have a lot of fun hearing and reading different versions of the story. They also love to rewrite this story. The last few years I have tried to do something different. I decided to see if we could use the three little pigs to teach a little science too.
On three little pigs day we sat down as a group and I introduced them to my little pig (a green piggy bank) and the big bad wolf (a hairdryer the first year, a large fan with wolf ears on it the second). I explained that we would be building a house for our pig that would protect him from the wolf.
We brainstormed materials that we had available on the board.
I had brought in hay and wood for the occasion. Other materials were things the students found around the classroom.
Some materials that students suggested:
Paper, wood, straw, bricks, wiki sticks, pipe cleaners. books, pencils, paper cups and blocks.
I asked each student to choose 1 material they would like to try to build with.
I limited groups to no more than 4 students per material. If students first choice was gone they simply chose something else.
We made a prediction chart and all voted on if we thought the house made of each material would fall or stand.
When we had decided on our materials everyone student individually took out their "Thinking book" and they had 15 minutes to come up with a sketch or plan for their material.
They then showed their ideas to the rest of the group and explained why they thought it would work. Students then worked together to decide on the best plan.
I gave the groups 40 minutes to build.
After that time we all looked at each others designs and returned to the prediction chart. We checked to see if we wanted to change any of our predictions based on the designs we saw.
Finally it was time to huff and puff and blow the houses down. Very exciting stuff!
We reflected on our designs talked about possible improvements.
We looked at our prediction chart and spend a little time in our thinking books recording what we had learned.
I loved this project and so did the students. It was fun to watch them think through a problem and work together to create something. The learning was varied and students all felt successful, even the ones whose houses fell.
What did I learn at school today? The three little pigs made a great jumping point to science concepts like force and motion and predicting. It made me look for other literature connections with science topics. Do you have a favorite story that you use to teach science? Have you done this with your students before?