Project Name: The “Three Little Pigs” Fairy Tale Stem
Grade Level: Kindergarten students collaborating with fourth grade “stem buddies”
Number of Students: Approximately 27
Indiana Standards project aligns with:
K.RN. 2.2: With support, retell the main idea and key details of a text
K.RL.4.2: With support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories
(E)K-2.E.1: Pose questions, make observations, and obtain information about a situation people want to change. Use this data to define a simple problem that can be solved through the construction of a new or improved object or tool
K.G.4: Compose simple geometric shapes to form larger shapes
List of Supplies
Any version of the “Three Little Pigs” story
Materials needed to build a straw, stick, and a brick house
toothpicks (either real straw or paper straws)
blow dryer (to use to blow the houses down)
can use a kit that includes miniature versions of actual bricks and a mortar mix (much like items found in a craft store to build tiny structures)
Legos (if wish)
possible wooden and/or real sticks in pieces of various sizes to build houses
puppets (can make if wish)
three little pigs and/or wolf
notebook and/or design plan from fairy tale kit for stem journaling
Puppet theater (optional)
A different version of “The Three Little Pigs” to compare/contrast
A different fairy tale book, such as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to use to compare/contrast and solve a similar problem; such as building a chair Goldilocks won’t break
iPad or iPhone to record puppet show and to make an iMovie
“Three Little Pigs” Fairy Tale Stem kit from Lakeshore Learning Store(optional), but I purchased the “Fairy Tale Steam Kit Set 1” that includes this kit inside along with “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” stem challenges with the money I received from TechPoint Foundation For Youth grant
Students will be able to ask and answer questions about a story they have read or heard in class.
Students will be able to compare and contrast experiences of characters in familiar stories.
Students will be able to collaborate to solve a problem.
Students will be able to compose simple shapes to form larger shapes when building their house.
Differentiation strategies to meet diverse learner needs: The kindergarten students worked with the “Three Little Pigs” fairy tale stem kit from Lakeshore Learning Store. If they needed extra help; they were able to ask their fourth grade “stem buddy”; while the fourth grade students solved higher level challenges by building a house with real brick and mortar to showcase. The fourth grade students also designed houses with greater detail and created an iMovie to showcase the puppet show for parents. The collaboration was awesome!
ENGAGEMENT: The teacher will capture the students’ attention by bringing out the story, “ T he Three Little Pigs” by Paul Galdone. Students will first take a “picture walk” of the book. The students will “think/pair/share” and make predictions of the book. Next, the teacher will read the story, but not reveal the ending. The teacher will then present the stem challenge, which is; “Can you build a house that will hold all three pigs and not blow down?” If you are able to collaborate with another class, then they can read the story and model how to retell using the puppets from the Lakeshore kit or they can make their own. The fourth grade students also loved using the puppets to help enhance the story.
EXPLORATION: Students will work in small groups to collaborate to solve the problem/stem challenge.
Create (Engineering Piece): Students create models of their plans using only the materials provided. I also had “real-world” photos of different kinds of houses I showed them and encouraged new vocabulary words. Some of these included: log cabins, castles, apartment buildings, lighthouses, two-story houses, buildings with bridges, and barns.
The students in the group that are working on the straw house will first plan their design and then try to construct a house the wolf can’t blow down using various materials you have given them. The next group will be assigned to make a stick house. The students will plan a design in their journals to see if they can build a house using sticks; the wolf won’t be able to blow down. In addition, the technology group will be studying pictures of various houses and constructing them with different materials; they can also record other groups of students working on their houses to use to create an iMovie on a different day, and then, the last group will be the students creating the brick house. If you have several students, you can have a group at the puppet theater acting out the story with their fourth grade buddy helping.
The teacher will have students rotate after 15 mins. to be able to get to each group.
The teacher will ask questions, such as “Whose house was the strongest?” “What was it made of?” “What happened to the other houses?” “Why do you think that happened?” “Could this story happen in real life?” “Why or Why not?” “Can you create a different ending for the story?” “What is the same/different?”
Collaborate with students to discuss what happened and if their creation worked or not. There is a place on the worksheet to check if it worked or didn’t. If it didn’t, the students can go back and re-try. I did have a few students that had to try again and the other students in their group were very supportive. I think that helped to build relationships in the classroom as well.
Ask students, “How does this relate to the story?” “What was the problem?” “Did you solve the problem?” “Why or Why not?”
For an extension, the students might want to write their own “blue prints” of their houses for each pig and discuss why each one is appropriate for their pig. They might want to design a house for the wolf as well!
Another extension might be to read a different fairy tale story, such as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and have students compare and contrast the two stories. Collaborate with another class or attend a Makerspace session to learn how to construct houses and learn what materials make them stronger than another. If the students are learning about a different fairy tale, then have them solve a new stem challenge, such as building a chair Goldilocks won’t be able to break.
Students will collaborate to reflect on their creations, the design process, which materials were sturdier and which materials did not work as well. Students will be able to compare/contrast various versions of the same fairy tale and also possibly compare/contrast a new fairy tale.
Students tested their plans to see if they worked or not. If it did not work, then they would try again!
Students were encouraged to document their designs either in their “stem notebook” or on their “Kids Doodle Pro app” on their iPad.
Students will practice retelling the main idea by creating a puppet show that showcases the stem challenge. Students will use a “blow dryer” to test each design to see if it blows down or not.
After the fairy tale puppet show, the fourth grade students will collaborate with the kindergarten students to create an iMovie.
“ I loved being able to purchase this “Steam kit” with the grant money from Techpoint Foundation for Youth. All of the puppets are included, so my students were already excited about the project before we started. I am also grateful for the fourth grade students modeling the 4 C’s of stem, which are collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. My kindergarten students learned so much from the fourth grade students. I highly recommend collaborating with another grade level teacher and students when you begin this project. The fourth graders not only helped my students learn about stem, but they also helped build their confidence and critical thinking skills!”
Credit: Shannon Shrader -Taylor Elementary School - Kokomo, Indiana