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Name of Activity

Living in Material World


Eleanor Richard Eva Philip


Materials, Sturdy Structures, Preparation for Project



Grade Level

K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Less than 1 Hour, 1 Hour

Brief Description

In this activity explores the importance of materials in engineering and allows students to generate their own knowledge about what materials they should use for what purposes.

Learning Goals:

– Understand that different materials are useful for different purposes

– Explore how the type of material affects how and for what purpose a project functions

– See one object from multiple perspectives by determining both deficits and positives of the same object

– Test and explore multiple materials

– Determine what the goals of your project are and what the best materials are to fit those goals

– Collect information from a test

– Make conclusion based on data

– Use information and data gathered in a test to inform a design

– Make a design and plan for a future project consider which materials are best suited


– tape (duck, masking, scotch) – string

– straws (paper or plastic)

– tooth picks

– Popsicle sticks – glue

– spaghetti

– pipe clears

– cardboard

– paperclips

– paper

– foam core (poster board) – wooden dowels

– plastic utensils – coffee filters

– yarn

– q-tips

– paper cups

– plastic cups

– styrofoam cups – felt fabric

– cotton balls

– scissors


Copy the work for the class

Gather all the materials needed

Knowledge Background

Importance of Materials:


– Introduced the idea of materials.  Sometimes you have a budget for a product so you can’t have the most ideal materials.  Discuss how all materials have strengths and weaknesses and deciding on your materials for a project is a balance.

– The classroom split into groups and each group was given a worksheet.  They were required to take 5 of the materials from a table in the back and record their strengths and weaknesses.  Every group had to create their own physical test for at least one material (i.e. baring, elasticity) and explain the how they went about their test.

– The groups then used their knowledge from their observations to design a first sketch of their model house.

– The classroom came together at the end and individuals shared the strengths and weakness of some materials and how they came to that conclusion.



This can activity is a great preparation for any bigger project, and always students to plan and design with more thought and consideration.

Reference 1

Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Smart Houses

Name of Activity

Animal Adapations


Ross Kamen and Grace Reilly


animal, color, #deskwork


Animal Adaptations

Grade Level

2, 3, 4, 5


Less than 1 Hour

Brief Description

Students adapted an existing animal to a different environment

Learning Goals:

Learn about animal adaptations with a creative mind



Printed pictures of animals that do not belong

Habitat description


pick a habitat (such as a jungle) and create identifying adjectives to explain habitat

Pick animals that do not belong in said habitat (such as a whale or a penguin) and print out outlined pictures

Knowledge Background

Habitats and Adpatations


1. Hand out animals to students

2. Have students create adaptations on their animals to help them live in the new habitat.  Encourage creative solutions

3. Share! the new animals you have created!

Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Stuck on a Desert Island

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