Let's back it up a couple weeks...
Our language arts program includes a great version of the Three Little Pigs which gives us the opportunity to have a little 3 Little Pig fun!
I usually do the standard readers theater, piggy art project, version compare contrast, etc... This year I spiced it up with a great build it group project.
I started out by letting my students know that they would need to build their own version of a house that could withstand the blow of the Big Bad Wolf.
I let that sit with them for a couple of day. The suspense! The kids were dying to know what was going to happen. Would the Big Bad Wolf really come to class?! Oh, 1st graders ;)
On project day, I broke them into groups. Now, I'm usually down for the kids to choose their own groups, but for this project I pre-selected my groups. It allowed me to break my more dominant kiddos up and set everyone up for success.
I gave very simple and ambiguous directions: "Use what you need from your bag to build a house that will stand up to the blow of the Big Bad Wolf."
Then they get to dive in. The looks on their faces were priceless! I know they were expecting clay, Legos or some other normal building tools. Some even asked, "What are we supposed to do with this?" and "Can I have (insert normal building tool)?" HaHa! I just kept repeating the same simple direction.
Eventually they gave it a go. It was hard work for them. They had to go through many plans and still work together. Some got discouraged, but luckily their teammates encouraged them to keep going. My favorite words for the day..."Let's just think of something else. Onto plan H!" LOL!
Along the way some students realize hat they don't need to use EVERYTHING in the bag. Others, would have used double the stuff! HA!
Now they would have worked FOREVER, but I put a time limit on it. When time was up, I collect their houses and bring in the Big Bad Wolf.... my hair dryer :) This kills the kids! I turn the hair dryer on high and try my hardest to knock down their homes. Some stand, some don't.
At the end we discuss what they think made the standing structures stay up, what tools were necessary and what they could have done without or used more of, and what idea they might "borrow" from one of the other groups if they were to build again. To calm them down from all of the fun I have them write about their experience or what they would do differently next time.
All in a all it is a huge, long, messy project. But it is worth EVERY bit of it, I mean, did you see those smiles!