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Sunday, November 8, 2015

{Building, Engineering & Design} Part II

This post is so overdue! I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I promise it's definitely better late than never. There are some precious pictures of our class and we did hard work and deep thinking. :) We did the second half of our building PBL over several weeks and it was so much fun! The school's themes were "Plenty of Pigs" and "Houses and Homes", and we started with the story of the 3 Little Pigs. We read my all time favorite book to start the week:
For our morning message we graphed who we believed....the pigs or the wolf?
Then we read some great variations of the 3 Little Pigs!

The peas used wood blocks, bricks and "straw" (yellow builders) to construct homes for the pigs in our block center.
We added some pigs, a wolf and building supplies to the sand table.
We also made these adorable piggy hats for a big experiment we were planning.
After we were transformed into little piggies, we broke up into six groups for our building challenge. Each group was given a different building material as you can see below. The challenge was to build a structure that couldn't be blown down by the big bad wolf! (aka the blow dryer!)
The pigs won against the 'stick' house!
The paper house-constructed of file folders- did blow down, but it took a lot of moving around! This group did a fantastic job stacking their paper in the strongest structural way.
The pigs beat the wolf with 'bricks'!
And of course, the pigs won with their block house, too! Yay for the piggies!
The following week was all about houses and homes, so we continued our building PBL. We learned about blueprints and drew some in our journals.
We found out that one pea's dad is a structural engineer. He offered to be a visitor for our class and talk about building. I was out at SFA when he came, but I heard ALL about it when I came home! They really enjoyed it! 
He brought projects he has worked on and they were incredible! We loved looking at all the amazing architecture and we studied the lines and the light in each picture. Our visitor left us pictures so we made a book for our block center.
Our building book inspired some pretty involved block structures.
As they built we noticed something and pointed it out to them. They began building structures that had some symmetry to them. We showed them what symmetry was and they thought it was super cool.
Ms. Leslie had a great idea, she told the peas they could make symmetry art! They loved the idea and it helped them understand the concept even better!
Since symmetry was all the rage, we added tangrams and rulers and showed them how to make a symmetrical design.They loved it.
My teenager even downloaded an app that made our pictures symmetrical!! They thought this was hilarious! ;)
We added a tunnel to the block center as they built. They experimented with force and gravity. They figured out quickly they needed to raise the tunnel if they wanted the cars to move down it quickly.
In art, Ms. Leslie helped us construct structures with pretzels and marshmallows. Mmmm...edible art!

Since we were talking about houses and homes (and that third smart little piggy) we constructed our own brick house! First we examined the bricks outside to see how they were laid. We noticed that they were laid in a pattern!
Then we used bricks and mortar to build our own house.
This is a great investment if you are interested. The teifoc bricks can be built with the mortar, and afterwards, you just soak your house in water, the mortar dissolves and you can start over!
During houses and homes week we read a fantastic story about several pigs, a moose, a bear and a ton of beavers! I chose this book because it mentions several types of animal homes (den, hut) and then it describes how the animals build a big house where everyone can live (with stairs!) You can check out this awesome story here. We put out an APB for animals and we weren't disappointed. We added our pigs, moose, beavers and bears to the block center and our friends got busy recreating the book.

That wraps up a fantastic Building PBL! We learned so much and I can't begin to describe how much more elaborate the peas building structures are now. They are officially little engineers.