STEM In Preschool!

Preschool is known for its dramatic play, picture books, and creative children.

     Today, the preschool class at Rocky Mountain Elementary will combine all of those traits as they work through the Engineering Process. Teacher Christina Wilson came up with an idea to use her centers to enhance her literacy teaching. She decided to use children's stories as a theme and create a problem solving center where students could work through problems identified in the stories.

      On the first day the students gathered around to listen a version of, "The Three Little Pigs." As Mrs. Wilson read to her students, she asked questions about problems that came up during the story. Students identified that the houses were weak and the pig was hungry.

     When the students began centers time, they started to solve the first problem from the story, the pig's house was too weak. In the STEM center sat a basket of toy pigs, a wolf, legos, Lincoln Logs, cardboard, and a fan. "A fan?" you say! Yes! A fan to test out the students' prototypes and see if it is strong enough to withstand the huff and puff of the Big Bad Wolf. The students began to build and the classroom became louder with each addition.

"Excitement and ideas came flying out in this center," states a para professional in the classroom. "The students where engaged and building the entire time. They tried standing the Lincoln Logs up and putting on a roof. They tried stacking the logs on top of each other. They tried building walls out of legos and cardboard. And of course they were most excited about turning on the fan to see if their prototype worked." 

    The Three Little Pigs is one of the three fairytale stories that students will work on over the next three weeks. Also included are the fairytales The Three Billy Goats Gruff,  Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood. Students will not only have to engineer physical structures, but they will also have to engage in social engineering. The students are challenged to design a way for the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf to get along. 

   The Design Thinking Process has been a great way for these preschool students to listen to a great story, solve problems, work with fellow classmates, and have fun engineering solutions.