Saturday, August 20, 2016

Straw Building Maker Activity #1

Straw Building in a 1st/2nd grade class

Straw Building Maker Activity #1 - CLICK HERE

30 straws for every 2 students
Masking tape

Goal: Students will make the tallest, freestanding structure using only 30 straws and tape.

Grade Levels: I did this activity with 1st - 5th grades.  I would love to see what a kindergarten class does with this!

The plan is simple, give the students the supplies, and tell them the rules:  I challenge you to build:

  1. Tallest structure
  2. Freestanding (we discuss what freestanding means, I ask the students what they think it means and let them tell me: no taping to desks, walls, or the floor.  We need to be able to pick it up and move it and have it stand after doing that.)
  3. Then I ask the students if there are any questions or clarifications they need
Side note: (in the 1st/2nd grade class they also Counted the straws and figured out if they had an even or odd amount of straws, a question the students were curious about.)

The great thing about doing this activity at the beginning of the year is that you get a great glimpse of your students.  You will see the ones who struggle working with others, those who are used to getting an answer easily and struggle with the unknown, those who fail and quit, those who fail and persevere, those who love building and creating, those who embrace openness, those who struggle with openness, etc…  I look at this as a pre-assessment or baseline data as you begin your journey integrating maker activities into your classroom.  If you record some information about the kiddos as you do this, it will be great data to compare to the end of the year!

Do this activity with an open mind and do not interfere.  Hand the students tape when they need it and reply “I don’t know” when they ask you something.  DO NOT tell them what to do or how to do it!

Here are some photos:
More 1st/2nd Grade Straw Towers
2nd/3rd Grade Straw Towers