Nov 5, 2014

3rd Grade Rainschool Engineering

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to work with Ashley Watson and Amanda Ballinger's third grade classes at Capri and Castlemont.  After reading the book Rainschool, as part of their Engage NY ELA curriculum, we brainstormed an engineering project that would extend student learning.  In the story, the rain washes away a school in Chad every summer.  The students and teachers there must work together every summer to rebuild their school.  So using the engineering design process, we had students build a waterproof school using a plastic cup and materials we found outside.  Students first asked questions about the project and imagined the different building possibilities.

After that, we gave each team a plastic cup, that would be the base of their "school".  We then went outside to gather the materials that students and teachers might have been able to collect in Chad.  One big question was whether or not trash was allowed.  We discussed that they probably did have trash available when they were building.  The students who found plastic bags were very lucky!

After creating their schools, we lined all of the schools up for the big "rainstorm, " which was really the pouring of a big watering can.  We also talked about the importance of making your roof windproof, since a few gusts of wind blew as well.  Most of the roofs were very successful at keeping all of the water out.  We further discussed which materials were always water resistant and which ones eventually started to absorb water.  Student had a fantastic time engineering schools like the characters in one of their favorite books!