Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? Part 1

I have been reading books and researching sites about project-based learning for over a year but it wasn’t until a month ago that I implemented my first unit.   I participated in a summer book club from my school and  read the book PBL in the Elementary Grades by Buck Institute.  It is a GREAT book and helps break down pbl so you can plan a unit.  I decided to plan a unit around science and math. I saw  a few posts from kindergarten and first grade classrooms where they built houses and then used a hair dryer to act as the Big, Bad Wolf. I liked this idea but wanted to add 2nd grade science standards and also incorporate math in the unit.

By assigning a specific cost to each material, I knew I could naturally meet the CORE standard of adding within 1,000 and also work with understanding multiples.  I knew force and engineering would be integrated as well as how geometric shapes help with wind resistance.

While I had all of this planned, I was sort of lost on how to really start it.  That is why I love Twitter!  I was in a chat called #2ndchat. The topic was creating engaging science units and also collaborative projects.  I was so blessed when @lesahaney became interested in my pbl project.  I shared my overview and plans with her.  Later we skyped and the project EXPLODED into a much deeper unit.  We made our plans and she was so kind to answer all my questions about pbl.  I was excited!

Every year, my team teaches a fairy tale unit.  This tied in well with my pbl project! After reading The Three Little Pigs, we started discussing the houses.  They talked about the different materials the pigs built the houses from and also the wolf’s strong breath.  We talked about who designed houses which lead to a discussion about architects.

From there I posed the question:

As architects, what is the cheapest house we can build to protect the three little pigs from the Big, Bad Wolf?

I never imagined the journey we would take from that moment on…

Click here to read Part 2. 🙂 Until then, please visit my classroom twitter page @missmacsowls and Lesa’s classroom @2ndGrSuperStars page to see pictures and tweets about the project.

Here is one of my favorite pictures so far. Can you tell they are excited about the results of their house test?


4 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? Part 1

  1. Ooh, how exciting! I can’t wait to read part 2! I am definitely interested in PBL, but unsure how to begin as you were at first. Looking forward to reading how the project unfolded!

    • I have been VERY intrigued for a long time. I felt like it would be a good fit for me but was scared to try by myself. Twitter makes that an easy problem to solve! We learned more than I ever imagined and yes I said “we.” I learned a lot about the process, the planning, incorporating experts and also that this type of activity hits so many standards in one project!

  2. Hi Carol – great project! – I’m glad our book gave you some useful guidance. We’d love to find out more so we could share the project – have any video? Or other artifacts?

    • I have a LOT of pictures. I will add more when I write the rest of the posts. I should also have videos soon when they market their houses to the three little pigs. The book and the website were very helpful.

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