We decided to collect our thinking and suggestions on paper. We first discussed the word structure. “What IS a structure?”

  • Students: A hotel, restaurant, tower, apartment…

We wrote these as labels on post-its and included them in our brainstorm. Then, we wondered why we NEED these structures.

The students shared their views about the ‘PURPOSE’ of a structure.

  • A restaurant – for people to go out and eat together
  • A waterfall (man-made) – to make a place look nice
  • A field – for people to run and exercise
  • A pool – for people to swim

The discussion led to the decision to sort the different structures into categories.

  • structures that are needed for everyday life
  • structures that are needed for specific purposes but not everyday life
  • structures that fit both these categories

The students decided that some structures:

  • were created to make a place look beautiful
  • were man-made
  • were created by the natural world
  • could fit into both man-made or natural (caves)

Next, the students listed different materials that are used to create structures. Again, they decided the materials  could be sorted into three categories:

  • natural materials
  • man-made materials
  • both

Then, the students were invited choose and read a unit related text from EPIC. They needed to look for information about the materials used to create the structure, the purpose and any other information they deemed important.

As the students shared the information they had uncovered, we documented their ideas on chart paper.

Finally, the students were excited to learn about roads, dams, bridges, towers and other interesting structures. They spoke in detail about the concepts, purpose, materials, design, plan, models and function.

We have begun to wonder how scientific principles help us problem solve and design structures. (causation)

Approaches to lLearning (ATL’s)

Thinking Skills

Critical thinking – Analysing and evaluating issues and ideas, and forming decisions


  • Take knowledge or ideas apart by separating them into component parts.


  • Consider ideas from multiple perspectives.
  • Synthesize new understandings by finding unique characteristics; seeing relationships and connections.
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