It’s amazing the way of the minds of children work. A few weeks ago we started a STEM project about designing walls. I began by showing them the pictures of walls from around the world and asking about how they were made and why people use walls. The conversations we ended up engaging in were so rich, question provoking and personal. Two students, who had never shared about their homeland before, elaborated on how the walls in Nepal were built and what is was like to live in a refugee camp. One described the rain and how they bathed and rejoiced in it when it came. It was such a treasure for our students to engage in real conversations and first hand accounts about other countries and hear about experiences they may never had even imagined were possible before. I was so proud that these two students shared and the others listened.
The photos below are of students engaging in the science of the lesson. Earlier in the year, these second graders engaged in a matter unit that focused on properties of different types of matter in their homerooms. We built on this knowledge, making observations of three different earth materials and recording their properties. They then made claims based on the evidence of their observations as to which earth materials would be most suitable for a strong and durable wall. The investigation culminates with students creating their own 3 inch tall walls that we test for strength with a “wrecking ball”.