This post originally appeared on the blog Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten.
Hi friends! I’m here today to share about a quick, easy, and FUN experiment that I recently did with my 1st graders. This experiment incorporated all of the elements of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and was such a hit with my kiddos, too:
We had just finished reading different versions of “The 3 Little Pigs,” and my team came up with this quick and easy STEM experiment that would be perfect to display at our upcoming Open House. Each kiddo got to build a house for their “little pig.” The house needed to be able to withstand the “big bad wolf blow dryer,” and not fall down! Here are the materials that we used:
We bought Dots candy, and toothpicks at The 99 Cents store. Each student received a plastic bag with 12 Dots to build their house. I let them have an unlimited supply of toothpicks, but they could not have more than 12 Dots for their house. It also definitely helped to have the Dots pre-divided out into the baggies for the kiddos. My teammate suggested this, and it made the experiment go really smoothly that each kiddo had their own bag of supplies. Before we started, we taped their pigs down onto the paper plates so that it looked like it was standing up! We used the Three Little Pigs Clip Art from Scrappin Doodles for our pigs. We just printed the pigs on pink card stock so that they were sturdy enough to stand up.
After their pig was secured, the kiddos got to work on their houses!
The next part of our experiment would be to “test” the houses to see if the “big bad wolf blow dryer” could blow their houses down. I kept this a surprise from my kiddos until the last second. They were so excited when I pulled out the blow dryer with the wolf mask taped on it:
One of my teammates printed the mask and laminated it so that we could use it. There are TONS of different wolf masks to print on the internet! I am so sorry that I don’t have the exact one that we used, but the internet is full of fun choices! Just Google “printable wolf mask” and see what pops up!
Here’s what the “wolf” looked like trying to blow down the houses:
While my students were waiting for their house to be tested, they worked on their recording sheets. I didn’t create a worksheet template for them. I wanted these to be totally created by them. I gave them guidelines: I wanted them to draw a before and after picture of their house. I also wanted them to count the “faces” and “vertices” of their house, since we had been studying this in Math. And finally, they had to make a prediction about what they thought would happen to their house. Here’s an example:
I displayed our houses and lab sheets in my classroom during Open House using these signs to explain our experiment:
You can download a FREE copy of the signs by clicking on the image below:
I hope that you enjoy doing this STEM activity with your students! Please feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions. 🙂
Kelly Smith is a kindergarten teacher and mom is passionate about early childhood education. She loves to create meaningful activities that are fun and engaging for students. Check out Kelly’s blog: Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!