|3 to 5
|90 minutes (or 45 minutes per day)
Description:This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Exploring Science Through Projects and Problems. In this activity, students are presented with a problem: construct a prototype of a bridge or other device to get the goats in the story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, to the other side of the river without getting eaten by the troll.
- Use reading, math. and science skills to solve a "real-world" problem
- Construct a model and design a solution
- Keep journals or records of scientific investigations
- Learn and use appropriate science and engineering vocabulary
- Work together to solve a problem
- A copy of The Three Billy Goats Gruff
- Index cards
- Pencils (1/student)
- Scissors (1/student)
- A copy of the Assessment Rubric (PDF) for each team
- Cereal box, individual portion size, empty
- String, any type, 45 cm
- Thread spool, empty or taped to keep from unwinding
- Plastic spoon
- Clay, non-hardening, 2" ball
- Craft sticks, 12
- Tape, transparent, small roll
- Pipe cleaners, 3
- Paper cups, 3 ounce (bathroom cups), 3
- Plastic goats, 3 (optional), or additional pipe cleaners for students to make goats
- Assemble all materials for easy distribution.
- Purchase or check out from the library a copy of The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
- Read through The Three Billy Goats Gruff and develop questions for discussion.
- Decide on the best grouping of students and roles to be assigned.
- Prepare the area for each team to work. Locate display area for finished products.
- Consider using a large piece of paper as a word wall for terms such as "engineering model" or "prototype."
Allow enough space for students to work safely.
What to Do:
- Engage students by introducing and reading aloud the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As you read, ask what problems the goats have to solve (getting across the river safely).
- Explore possible solutions. Divide students into small groups, hand out the rubric, and present the challenge: Your team is an engineering company hired by the goats' parents. Each team needs to come up with a solution without harming the troll. Design and make a model of an invention that would enable the goats to safely get to green grass every morning. You have 60 minutes to complete your solution. This time may vary and be extended to the next day.
- Ask students to brainstorm and discuss with you four possible solutions, the pros and cons of each, and their final decision. Allow about 15 minutes for brainstorming. Ask students to record their ideas as they go. Remember that the goal is to have students create an invention (like a bridge) to solve the problem.
- Once each team has shown you its ideas and decisions, give students their kit of materials so that they may begin making a model. Students should create a name for the device, label it with an index card, and create a company portfolio for the goat parents to consider.
- Explain the solutions. Have the students present their models and completed rubrics to the whole group while the remaining students and the instructor ask probing questions about their model and how it works.
- Each team cleans up by returning leftover materials to the bags.
- Debrief about the invention process, the brainstorming, and the difficult and fun elements of designing like an engineer.
- Extend students' learning. If time allows, ask students to write a reflection of what they learned. Create a display of the students' inventions in the school library or other public area. Based on what did and did not work, have students plan how they might change their models.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student engagement and participation
- Students working together cooperatively
- Ideas and answers that reflect an understanding of the problem, use of problem solving skills, and possible solutions
- Journal entries or records of ideas, pictures, what worked, and what didn't
- Final designs that reflect an understanding of how to engineer a solution. See the Assessment Rubric (PDF) for one idea of how to evaluate students' work.
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.
Learn More:Learn more about the 5Es.