Building Flying Contraptions

This week we read a bunch of books about flying, including fiction books like Abuela and Isla by Arthur Dorros, Going Places, Voilet the Pilot, Rosie Revere Engineer, and non-fiction books including ones about African American scientists and inventors, Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female pilot, Amelia Earhardt, and the Wright brothers. We challenged the students to step into the shoes of an engineer and create a contraption that could help them fly out of straws, paperclips and rubber bands. The students wanted to make things that could fly themselves, so they made a lot of really interesting flying machines, planes, rockets and helicopters! After building their designs, later on many students came up with new ideas and revised their contraptions. After building their design, each student filled out the first page of their Kindersteam journal by drawing a picture of what they made and talking about whether their contraption worked and new ideas they had to improve them.

IMG_1459 IMG_1461 IMG_1462 IMG_1481 edited pictureKindersteam Journal Cover

Building houses from Abiyoyo


Our students really loved the books Abiyoyo and Abiyoyo Returns when we read them last week. The stories originated in South Africa, so we found South Africa on a map and a globe.

Today we reread Abiyoyo and then built houses from the book out of marshmallows, Dots, and toothpicks. Students explored which materials were better for building, the different shapes they could use in their structures, and how large of a structure they could make before it collapsed.

Some of the students got discouraged when their structure collapsed, but we talked about how, when you are building things, it often doesn’t work the first time, so you just have to try again. The students seemed to be a little more okay with imperfection after hearing this, but it is certainly something we will continue to work on.

After they were done, each student drew a picture and wrote about what they did. As we were doing the activity, several students told us, “I wish we could do this every day!”

IMG_1428    Houses from Abiyoyo