First Grade Design Challenge: Trimester Two

Students learned about the different states of matter and the unique properties that distinguish solids and liquids. First graders began their unit by discussing the impact of the Longmont flood in September 2013.  Then they were asked to design a structure that would withstand the types of heavy rains and flooding that occurred this fall. Students worked in groups using various solid materials (such as salt-clay, cardboard, stones, and craft-sticks as well as other materials) to build a structure that could withstand a flooding disaster. We simulated heavy rains and flooding with a hose and watering cans.

Students observed the impact that heavy rains and water had on their structures as the “streets” flooded and the water pooled in their “neighborhoods.” Students were able to analyze materials and see how each one was affected by water in different ways. This deepened their understanding of solids and liquids, and gave real meaning to the science of matter.