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Second-Grade Students Become Engineers

Shay Kathuria and Debbie Lieberman
As the culmination of a Lower School geology unit, second-grade students completed an engineering project where they designed and built a volcano landscape.

The landscape contained a volcano, a forest, and a place for "tourists" (lego people) to watch the volcano safely. Students also designed and built a barrier to prevent lava from getting too close to the tourists. Using engineering design, the class learned about the types and amounts of materials they had to work with, collaborated in teams to create a plan, and built their landscapes and volcanoes during science and art class.

Through working in teams, students had to collaborate and agree with their team members on the full design of the landscape. They documented any disagreements regarding the design or process, in which some students responded to resolving disputes by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.

An inspiring Eruption Day tested the volcanoes and landscapes. Each team presented their project to classmates and guests before erupting their volcanoes. All lava barriers met expectations, and no tourists reported injuries during the eruptions!

The volcano engineering project allowed students to demonstrate their volcano structure knowledge and taught them how engineers work within parameters imposed by the materials. Most importantly, this project fosters the valuable skills of teamwork and collaboration in a creative and fun process.
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An independent school serving students from age 2 through grade 12 in Howard County, Maryland.