Engineering and Conservation





Name of Activity

Engineering and Conservation




house, LEGOs, materials, found materials, resources, resourcefulness, conservation, Engineering Design Process, renewable, non-renewable


Non-LEGO, LEGO Building

Grade Level

4, 5, 6


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

Students will be asked to build a house (out of LEGOs or non-LEGO materials). Students

will not be aware that after the first house they will be asked to build a second house

using the materials that they have left over. This will continue until it is impossible for

the student to build more houses. This should lead to a discussion on resource use and

engineering while being aware of conservation.

Lesson Objectives:

– To reinforce the Engineering Design Process.

– To teach students about the relationship between engineering and conservation.

– To teach students how they can participate in conservation.

Materials Needed:

Planning Worksheet

Review of Activity Worksheet


One kit per pair of students

Preparation and Set Up:

Make enough copies of the worksheet for each

student (attached)

Setup the PowerPoint presentation (attached)

Gather materials and make kits for students to use

Necessary Background


Engineering Design Process


Renewable vs. Non-Renewable



  1. Arrange students into pairs
  2. Discuss the Engineering Design Process. Tell the students that their task is to design and build a house. DO NOT TELL STUDENTS THEY WILL HAVE TO BUILD MORE THAN ONE HOUSE
  3. Pass out the planning worksheets and have students plan their design.
  4. When students have completed their designs pass out the kits and allow the students to build their design for 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. When students have completed their first house have students place their houses on a desk/table and sit back down.
  6. Next, tell the students that their next task is to build a house out of the left-over materials and that they house must meet the same requirements of the first house.
  7. Some students may not have enough materials left to build a second house, if this is the case, allow groups o combine resources so that they can build a second house.
  8. If all the students have enough materials to build a second house that meets the requirements, have the students build a third house. By the time the students get to the third house they should pretty much have run out of materials.
  9. When the students have finished pass out the second worksheet and then discuss as a class the following issues, you can use the attached powerpoint in this discussion:

  • What would you have done differently if you knew that you had to build more than one house?
  • How might this relate to the real world?
  • What if you were required to build a neighborhood and you only had a certain amount of timber/bricks?
  • What are some resources that we use a lot of?
  • Could we run out of these resources (are the renewable, non-renewable)?
  • What are some ways that we can conserve these resources?
  • What can you do personally to reduce your impact on the environment?


If there is enough time at the end of this lesson have the students build three houses that

meet the requirements with all the materials to show that if you use fewer resources for

each house then you will have enough to build more houses.

Reference 1

Reference 2

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