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  • Grades K-2

    Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. K-2-ETS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem. K-2-ETS1-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. K-2-ETS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to include using and developing models (i.e., diagram, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RI.2.1 - Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. (K-2-ETS1-1)
  • SL.2.5 - Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings. (K-2-ETS1-2)
  • W.2.6 - With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)
  • W.2.8 - Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)

Mathematics

  • 2.MD.D.10 - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)
  • MP.5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (K-2-ETS1-1), (K-2-ETS1-3)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • In this lesson students collaborate while planning, constructing, and testing a structure that reduces the warming effect of sunlight on an ice cube.  This is the seventh lesson of a nine lesson betterlesson.com unit by Joyce Baumann.

  •   Students will design and make bridges out of folded pieces of paper, and test how much weight they can hold using pennies. Students will be able to explain how a bridge’s shape can make it stronger and perform tests to compare differe ...

  • This activity is an extension of the Paper Bridge Design Challenge.  In addition to making bridges out of folded pieces of paper, students will have access to a variety of materials (construction paper, aluminum foil, wax paper, cardstock, and m ...

  • Biomimetics is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. In this lesson, students identify a human problem and use biomimicry to develop a possible solution.

  • This is a 5E lesson plan from the book Picture Perfect STEM Lessons, K-2 Using Children's Books to Inspire STEM Learning by Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry. The books Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley and National Geographic Kids: Robots b ...

  • In this unit, students must identify and define a problem posed in a real-life, probable scenario. They conduct research, design and test probable solutions to the problem, and engage in literacy, math, and engineering activities in order to solve th ...

  • Students are introduced to a fictional problem (the need for a new hamster habitat in a pet store) and are invited to solve the problem through an engineering design (a hamster habitat). They work through a series of lessons to learn about the n ...

  • This resource contains directions on how to create a solar eclipse box that works exactly like a pinhole camera.  Teachers can use this resource to help students observe and predict sun and moon patterns. To truly make this an engineering design ...

  • This resource highlights that many of the science investigations that teachers are currently using in their classrooms can easily be adapted to engage students in engineering design.  In this article the authors share two examples of how they ad ...

  • This resource combines The Engineering Design Process and technology using an iPad to have students create an electronic STEM journal documenting what they learned about wind and weather as they design sails for a model boat.

  • This 5-E lesson plan uses the backwards-design approach integrated with literacy to expand upon children's knowledge of fireflies and light.  Students will able to gather evidence to develop the understanding that at night objects can be see ...

  • This activity will help students understand the role of a pollinator by having them construct a model of an insect and a model of a flower to investigate how flowers are pollinated.

  • This article discusses how students were engaged in a year-long project that integrated science, mathematics, and literacy.  Utilizing a project-based learning (PBL) format entitled garden-based learning (GBL) students  participat ...

  • This article provides insight on an a first grade derby car engineering activity.  First graders build derby cars while enhancing their communication skills. This lesson illustrates how the engineering design process, coupled with differentiatio ...

  • This article describes a six-day unit for first graders that integrates music, science, and literature to assess and develop first graders' knowledge of sound waves.

  • This 5-E lesson plan requires second graders to use observations and the engineering design process to test a variety of materials and decide which would make the best rain-proof roof for a doghouse.

  • This resource is an introductory kindergarten STEM unit that focused on building a trap to catch a gingerbread man.  This activity integrates STEM with literacy as students read, write, learn about pushes and pulls, and design a trap for th ...

  • This resource is a 5-E lesson based on the book "All the Water in the World" by George Ella Lyon and Katerine Tillotson.  In this lesson students describe ways they use water and how they can reduce their water consumption.   ...

  • Please note this resource is an article found in the January 2016 Volume 53 Number 5 edition of NSTA's "Science and Children" Journal which can be accessed for free in the NSTA Learning Center for NSTA members.  The article is enti ...

  • This lesson is the second day of an end of the unit task to address the Performance Expectation: Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.  This end of unit t ...

  • This lesson was designed for students to investigate the impact that humans can have in controlling erosion.  Students plan, design, construct, and evaluate ways to slow or prevent landslides from changing the shape of the land.

  • In this lesson students design a vanilla plant pollinator.  This is an end-of-the-unit task, taking about 3 days to complete.  The students will view an amazing video that tells about the problems with pollinating vanill ...

  • This resource is an excerpt of lessons from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Investigating Plants with Wisconsin Fast Plants Program. Students will explore Fast Plants' flowers and learn how flowers and their internal structures are related to ...

  • Being able to recognize a problem and design a potential solution is the first step in the development of new and useful products. In this activity, students create devices to get "that pesky itch in the center of your back." Once the idea ...

  • A lesson plan based on the book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming where bunnies keep getting a farmer’s vegetable garden and eating his vegetables. Students will design and build something to prevent the bunnies from getting into the veget ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • Editable materials list for investigating the strength and utility of pasta as a building material. Includes investigation of materials used to hold strands together (candies and tapes)

  • Editable materials list for students to complete to investigate the properties of materials before designing a life vest for a doll.

  • The slides from Dr. Moore's presentation on PictureSTEM curricula, Designing Paper Baskets.

  • Being able to recognize a problem and design a potential solution is the first step in the development of new and useful products. In this activity, students create devices to get "that pesky itch in the center of your back." Once the idea is thought...

  • When you walk or drive around your neighborhood, what do the roofs look like? What if you lived in an area with a different climate, how might that affect the style of roofs that you see? Through this introductory engineering activity, students explo...

  • Students test whether the color of a material affects how much heat it absorbs. They leave ice cubes placed in boxes made of colored paper (one box per color; white, yellow, red and black) in the sun, and predict in which colored box ice cubes melt f...

  • Students discover the scientific basis for the use of inclined planes. Using a spring scale, a bag of rocks and an inclined plane, student groups explore how dragging objects up a slope is easier than lifting them straight up into the air. Students a...

  • Students visit second- and fourth-grade classes to measure the heights of older students using large building blocks as a non-standard unit of measure. They also measure adults in the school community. Results are displayed in age-appropriate bar gra...

  • This is the design brief for teacher use for the maze that kindergarteners will create (and re-create) for Henrietta.

  • This is a handout to provide to kindergarteners as they are creating their mazes for Henrietta. It reminds them of the three criteria for the challenge.

  • PowerPoint used within the session. Notes on the slides contain all links, videos and activity guides.

  • Free NGSS-Aligned Stem Curriculum for K12 Teachers

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.