Sunday 17 November 2013

Science Design Process starring The Pigeon!

As I am in the middle of finishing up the dreaded report card comments, I just wanted to pop in and share a project that I did with my class last week.

With our new provincial report card, we have to report on the design process each term. I've never really done a design project so close to the beginning of the year. I usually save it for our five senses unit later on in the year. But because we have to report on it each term, I had to come up with a fun design project for my kiddos.

I fully admit that we have a very boring Grade 1 Science curriculum here in our province. The worst unit I think is called "Characteristics of Objects and Materials". I hardly every teach it thoroughly. It's all about the materials that make up different objects. Blah, blah, boring. There is one outcome in the unit that is kind of fun though (1-3-10 Use the design process to construct a useful object by selecting, combining, joining, and shaping materials. Examples: pencil holder, crayon box, desk organizer...). I've done Valentine's Day boxes or pencil holders, but wanted something different for this year.

Our author study this month is Mo Willems and his silly pigeon and friends. The kids are loving the pigeon books so I thought to myself... how can I use the pigeon in my design process? And that is how this project was born.

The Pigeon Wants a Chair!

We started off by having the pigeon send us an email asking the students to make him a new, comfy chair.

We talked about the criteria for making the chair--had to use more than one material, had to use some sort of joining material (tape, glue, etc.), and had to hold the stuffed pigeon without breaking. Then I just laid out a bunch of materials from around the classroom and recycling bin--plastic cups, paper plates, foam, construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, duct tape, q-tips, straws, plastic containers, toilet paper tubes... Then I let the kids have at it!

They came up with some pretty unique designs!

The next day we drew a diagram of our chair and listed the materials we used. 

Then the fun part--testing out whether or not the chairs would hold the pigeon!

Here's the sheet that I used for this project. If you are interested in trying out this design project, you can download the sheet from {here}.


  1. Cute activity! I'm we start parent conference tomorrow. Good luck with all those comments!

    What I Have Learned

  2. Agree. Our science is boring . I start off with daily Nd seasonal changes so our first design project is about making a bird feeder to help a manitoba animal survive in winter! Same thing we use recycled materials !

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I am leading a workshop on inquiry in a few weeks and would like to use your example if its alright with you.

  4. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I'm from Saskatchewan and I agree with you about the Objects and materials unit. It's hard to make it interesting. My students love the pigeon books so they will love this activity too!

  5. Do you have a written lesson plan for this project? If so, can you share?

    1. No, sorry. I don't really write out full lesson plans. Just quick notes in my day planner!


    2. What size is the plush pigeon you use for the project? Thanks!