Engineering in the First Grade
Posted 11/23/2016 11:03AM

First grade has been studying the states of matter this year, and it seems like they have had fun exploring and experimenting with them! Starting out by simply discussing the qualities of the different states of matter; solids, liquids, and gasses, and what makes them all uniquely different from one another. Next, they read non-fiction texts on the properties of each state of matter, watched interactive SmartBoard videos that led to whole group classroom discussions, and made observations about different objects in their classroom. The first grade teachers reported that the more the first graders learned about matter, the more curious they became!

What better way to feed their curiosity than with some hands-on experimenting! Ms. Schilling and Ms. Lynch decided to join forces and utilize the new STEAM lab for a grade-wide exploration into some curiously strange solids... or, were they liquids? Students in the first grade got to test some interesting types of matter that had qualities of both solids AND liquids!

First graders turned into engineers with the Engineering is Elementary curriculum to figure out ways to alter these materials to be either more like solids or more like liquids. We discussed what types of improvements we could make to the liquidy goop and the extra hard clay. First graders also learned that different catalysts can act on materials and cause them to change states. The heat from their hands helped soften the hard clay, which made it change its shape easier! And by putting pressure on the play dough, we could made it take the shape of its container!
Students used all that they had learned about solids and liquids to determine just what these substances really were. In the STEAM lab, students learned how engineers make improvements, and catalysts cause matter to change shape.
Saint Stephen of Hungary School
408 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
Phone:  (212) 288-1989    Fax: (212) 517-5877
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