After I retold The Three Little Pigs, I suggested that the pigs still had a problem. They need to find a way to watch for the wolf in case he returns.
Engineers design and build things to solve problems. I explained that I thought a watchtower might be a solution to their problem, and then showed them various examples of watchtowers and how they are or were used to see long distances by forest rangers, sailors, kings, and lifeguards.
Then I tasked my kindergarten engineers with building a watchtower for the pigs using Styrofoam, toothpicks, and a 3×5 card for the platform. We used the Engineer Design Process and I witnessed many examples of problem solving and the growth mindset. (The students did not watch these videos.) Each engineer was given a ruler that they used in a meaningful way to measure their towers.
My first plan wasn’t successful, so I need to try again! Fail forward.
My first plan was successful, but I think I can make it taller:
The tallest tower of the day! Notice that her toothpicks are not showing.
Other engineers at work:
I briefly explained at the beginning of lab that Styrofoam is a man-made material that is not good for our world, so I always look for ways to reuse it.