Day 1: Building a Structure
Begin the lesson by reviewing natural resources. Ask students, “What might be needed to build a house?” Show students some straw, a few sticks, and a brick. Let students touch each material and discuss its texture, weight, sturdiness, etc. Ask students to think of a story that they have probably heard that includes all three types of materials.
Guide students’ discussion toward the story of The Three Little Pigs if necessary. Encourage students to tell you what they already know about the story. Some students may say different things regarding what happens to the wolf at the end, etc. Explain to students that The Three Little Pigs has many versions and each story is written a little differently. Read the story The Three Little Pigs. “Would you build a house with straw, sticks, or bricks?” Have students discuss why they would build a house with certain materials.
Show students the picture cards of different structures (S-K2-12-2_Picture Cards of Structures.doc). Explain the definition of a structure. Explain to students that you want them to construct something that has a purpose or a reason.
Have a variety of resources available for students to build a structure (glue, tape, paper, small wooden sticks, cups, Lincoln Logs™, Legos®, toothpicks, or marshmallows). Allow students enough time to construct the structure, and then ask students to share their structure. During the discussion, ask students, “Was your structure sturdy? Recall the story we read about the three pigs. Could something harm their structure (like wind or rain)? What did they need to be more successful with building their structure?” Information about building a home can be found at http://www.contractor.edu/buildhouselp/buildhouselp.html.
You and students can sing the “Construction Worker Song” (sung to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”), found at Preschool Construction Songs and Music, http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/construction/songs.htm . A copy of the song lyrics is also available (S-K2-12-2_Construction Song.doc).
The Construction Song
This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails,
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning.
This is the way we saw our wood,
Saw our wood, saw our wood.
This is the way we saw our wood, so early in the morning.
This is the way we use a screwdriver,
use a screwdriver, use a screwdriver,
This is the way we use a screwdriver, so early in the morning.
This is the way we drill a hole,
drill a hole, drill a hole,
This is the way we drill a hole, so early in the morning.
Turn the screw…
Stack the bricks…
Paint the walls…
Stir the paint…
Activity 1: Blueprint Design
Review with students the activity for constructing a structure. Show students the structure cards (S-K2-12-2_Picture Cards of Structures.doc
) and ask, “Where would someone get the materials needed for building these structures? Where would the material come from? Where do workers get material to build things?” Note: You want to guide students to understand that materials come from manufacturers and are purchased by a consumer.
Say to students, “When you construct something, many tasks are involved. For example, what if we wanted to build a new school? What steps would we need to build a school?” Have students share ideas. Some examples may be blueprints, getting the site ready, building the foundation, erecting walls, putting on the roof, selecting materials for the building (pipes, wires, lumber, nails, shingles), and so on. “There are a lot of people involved in creating a structure as well. Can you name any people that would be involved in constructing a school?” Some examples include plumbers, electricians, carpenters, masons, roofers, architects, landscapers, and others.
Tell students that a house has a similar structure to a school. Read How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons. After reading, students should realize what a complex project it is to build a house, which requires many people working together. Construction begins with the architect who draws the plans. Readers meet the surveyors, equipment operators, carpenters, plumbers, and other people who produce a building. Ask children to recall other people involved in building a house. “Would these people be similar in building a school? What do you think the first step would be in building a school?” Guide students to understand that, when building a structure, a plan is needed. Tell students that a plan for constructing a structure is called a blueprint. Show students a blueprint of a house or building. Note: Local architects may be asked to provide samples.
“Today we are going to draw a plan. You are going to design a room that you would like to add to the school.” Show a blueprint or map of the school to give students ideas. Ask students to talk with a peer about what they would like to add or change about their school. Have students discuss what materials they would use and who they would need to help. Ask students to recall information that was learned from the Gail Gibbons story.
When students have had enough time to discuss their plans, give each student a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil to start drawing. Have students label parts of their plan. Give students a set amount of time, and have them share a little bit about their new room in front the class.
Activity 2: Construction from Beginning to End
Read the book A Year at a Construction Site (Time Goes By) by Nicholas Harris. This book lets you look at the building of a school over a year. Stop periodically to discuss information with students and check for understanding. Record their responses on a chart. Ask students to identify safe practices workers use at a construction site. Bring in examples such as a hard hat, safety shoes, safety glasses, and safety belts. Have students give examples of safety used at other places such as home, school, and in the car.
Have students look at their blueprint drawing of a new room for their school. Tell students they now will list the types of materials they would put in their room. Allow students time to discuss this with partners. Then have students think about what technology they would like to put in their new room.
Allow students time to draw technology items to be placed in their new room. Students may also cut out pictures from office supply catalogs and glue them in their design of the new room. When students have completed this task, have them label each item of technology.
- Students who may be going beyond the standards can present a drawing to the principal and discuss the steps involved in creating this room for the school.
- Students who may be going beyond the standards can review the steps involved in building a school. Have students create a flowchart that illustrates these steps.
- Students who need an opportunity for additional learning can role-play a worker involved in constructing a building. Have other students guess what type of worker s/he is.