Storybook Engineering - Part I

This month I was invited into a Needham kindergarten classroom to run three "Storybook Engineering"* activities. What's that you ask? Storybook engineering integrates literacy and engineering by using common fairy tales as the springboard for problem-solving, engineering challenges.

Our first of three activities was Jack and the Beanstalk. What if, after grabbing a bag of gold and running back towards the beanstalk, Jack found supplies? Maybe, tinfoil, wax paper, string and tape? This group of kindergartners decided Jack might make: a slide, a glider or a parachute. Parachutes seemed like the best idea and we were off and building!

The entire class worked in pairs to design, test, observe and revise parachutes. Their goal was to get Jack to the ground as quickly as possible and as safely as possible.

See the photos and video below to see how their ideas came to life. (Video at bottom - and special thanks to our fabulous volunteer, Anne D. - you rock!)

Here the students tested three strings attached vs four strings attached to determine which was safer for Jack (four is better!)


* not an original idea, but this is Let's Build first curriculum using storybooks as inspiration for student challenges!


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