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Building Things (1)

Page history last edited by Shannon Wiebe 12 years, 1 month ago



Clear targets for building things unit from grade 1 Alberta Science Program of Study.  I print off one for every student, keep notes as we go and send the sheet home to be signed by parents during and after the unit.  Students refer to the targets to track their learning.  I use this sheet to plan lessons and projects, attempting to investigate every outcome thoroughly.






































building things word strips (printable)

Click the download tab, it's a larger file and may take a minute or two.


- terms and vocabulary used for unit

- sorted several ways, strong, bendable, stacks, rolls, fastens, wood, plastic, metal, etc.

- types of fasteners

- student bring large ziploc bag of items to build with, items to share





some of the projects we made (grade 1)











Edmonton Public Resource for Grade 1 science topics French and English (order link)



- simple

- performance or task based

- several project options for each outcome

- the vocab, task, materials, student response sheets are well laid out

- assessment manual also available




The general site:







- car was the only take-home project to sure designs were 100% student generated

- cars were raced and having wheels that roll was key 



This unit followed the Needs of Plants and Animals.  We already had a collection of domestic animals in the class on display.  The first task was to build a home for one of the domestic animals we had in the classroom (plastic to scale).  The home had criteria, it had to have a door that could lock, have an area for food, sleep and exercise.  It also had to be big enough to fit the animal the students chose, they used the plastic models to be sure.



- booklet of clear targets and collection of all student building projects

- response sheets from Edmonton Public resource were used

- criteria sheets for tasks include teacher and student evaluation

- each project was displayed on long tables as a "town" and photographed 

- booklet goes home for parents to sign and comment

- final student self-assessment is included

- digital collection of projects would be a next step, wiki or class blog





- polystyrene mammal

- must stand on its own (notch and stand technique taught)

- must with stand small gust of air (blowing)






- insect or bird puppet with moving parts

- list materials and describe steps





For students who want to get fancier there are some beautiful examples on this blog.




animal and car criteria (printable)

skeleton images for inspiration (PDF on projector)




- pipe-cleaner reptile

- compared to actual skeletons of animals for inspiration

- studied toys with joints (barbies, GI Joe figures)

- recorded materials, steps, possible improvements

- staples item right to the booklet

- photo journal showed progression of sophistication of student projects

- houses or manilla tag, popsicle sticks, marshmallows

incorporate with fairy tales unit and 3 little pigs





- English videos on building a log home and an igloo, not awesome but gives construction details










The vocabulary we focused on was first the words for all of our building supplies and then for the parts of a house, walls, roof, stairs, windows, doors, hinges, and so on.  Will find and post . . . 




As you can see on this sheet this was our first attempt at comparaison, not an easy writing task for my grade 1s.  Students had a photo of their house and of someone else's in the class to compare.




- resource suggests popsicle sticks, stir sticks or pretzels for building our log houses, popsicle sticks worked best, the other's were too small and hard to glue

- inspiration for types of 'log' houses 




Little popsicle stick doll house

Popsicle stick creations

Little popsicle stick craft box






pinwheels (printable)


The Edmonton Public resource I used has some very simple building ideas.  They include a pinwheel, pop-up cards, simple boats.  Here are some pinwheels that we thought were a little more fun.  This was an entry task one day for during announcements, nothin' fancy but the students looooooved them.  







Comments (4)

Jackie Astrom said

at 8:04 pm on May 11, 2012

Wow! Thanks for throwing all of this up! Much appreciated as always!

sohebert@... said

at 5:15 pm on May 12, 2012

Thanks! This is a unit that always makes me a little crazy. Good to see what someone else does.

Anne Gudgeon said

at 4:56 pm on May 15, 2012

How do you order the Building things unit from the Edmonton school board? I would LOVE to have those activity sheets but I teach in Ontario.

Shannon Wiebe said

at 6:00 pm on May 15, 2012

http://rds.epsb.net/cf/series.cfm?nSubjectID=7 This is the link to order from Edmonton Public. Their resources are really good. They aren't fancy but the experiments are hands on and performance based. They suggest several tasks for each outcome (you won't go through and do everything in the resource). I would suggest also ordering the assessment manual. I don't use all of them as the assessments are paper and pencil rather than performance based but they do give good ideas for assessment. Hope that helps. Edmonton Public offers comprehensive resources in French in many subject areas. I like to have a copy in French and a copy in English . . .

The general site:


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