Optional Teaching Supplies

Materials for this Unit

Many EiE lessons use materials that are commonly available at grocery, hardware, or craft stores. To obtain kit materials, either visit our EiE store to purchase a kit that includes materials for up to 30 students, or create your own kit based on the materials list printed in the teacher guide or the downloadable list below.

Each unit includes a letter to send home with student for materials donation for the unit. Click here to download a copy of this letter in Spanish.

Additional Storybooks for Classroom Use

Storybooks introduce each unit with the tale of a child somewhere around the world who solves a problem through engineering. The books integrate literacy and social studies into the unit and illustrate for students the relevance of STEM subjects. 

Explore the Lessons

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

What is Technology? / Grade 4 / Worcester, MA

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Extension Lessons

What are Extension Lessons?

Extension Lessons use EiE activities as a springboard to more directly reinforce other curricular concepts.

View all Extension Lessons »

Canadian kids Michelle and her brother Tim play on the same hockey team. Michelle, who has Down Syndrome, contributes to the team in a special way: she makes Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards from play dough and hands them out after each practice. Now the team has a chance to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play—but tickets are expensive. They need a great fundraiser for their booth at the school fair—and make-your-own play dough creations just might be it! With help from Uncle Adam, a chemical engineer, Michelle creates an easy-to-follow play dough process—and becomes the team’s MVP.

Download a PDF of our storybook illustrations.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Play Dough Storybook / Kindergarten / West Palm Beach, FL
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Reflection Questions

What strategies do you see Lori using to help keep her very young students engaged in the story of Michelle’s MVP Award?

Lori keeps the class’s attention by calling on many different children, repeating and re-phrasing key content from the story, and breaking the reading up into multiple sessions.

  • Lori explains multiple times, in multiple ways, what an “MVP” is. (0:50)
  • During the discussion, Lori asks for contributions from many children, including Addison (2:32), Colton (3:48), and Darren (5:16).
  • Lori implies that they have done some reading earlier in the morning (0:25), and she stops (6:53) and resumes reading (8:34) after doing some work on the board.

In what ways does Lori explain/reinforce the concept of a process?

Lori tries to get her young students to understand what a process is by comparing it to words they may be familiar with. She also provides an example by drawing out the steps of the hand washing process on the board.

  • Lori compares a process to a recipe, and then asks her students if they have ever followed a recipe to make something. (3:42)
  • Lori uses the term directions to describe the process Uncle Adam used. (8:17)
  • Lori makes pictures of all the steps in the hand washing process to help students understand the importance of sequence in a process. (10:28)
Play Dough Storybook / Grade 5 / Chicopee, MA
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Reflection Questions

Grace stops reading at different points in the story and poses questions to her students. What kinds of questions do you see her asking?

Grace asks her students to recall important story elements, make connections to their own lives, and make inferences about what words might mean.

  • Grace asks students to use their knowledge of base words to make inferences about what a chemical engineer might do. (0:36)
  • Grace asks students to make connections to their own lives when she asks them if they have ever tried to teach anyone how to do something. (1:22)
  • Grace asks students to recall key information when she asks them to explain what Michelle did during the Ask step of the Engineering Design Process. (3:45)

What techniques do you see Grace using to help her students think about new vocabulary words?

Grace has her students use background knowledge to help define words, has them repeat important vocabulary words out loud, and engages students in helping her identify important new terms that they should understand.

  • Grace asks students to use their background knowledge to infer what a chemical engineer might do. (0:36)
  • When introducing the word “processes,” Grace has all the students repeat the word out loud for emphasis. (2:50)
  • At the end of the lesson, Grace asks her students to help her identify new vocabulary words, such as chemistry and the Engineering Design Process. (5:52)

Students think like chemical engineers as they perform product research related to a new juice being created by the Creative Juices Company.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Get the Creative Juices Flowing / Grade 5 / Chicopee, MA
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Reflection Questions

Where do you see Grace eliciting prior knowledge to help make her students' learning meaningful?

Grace asks her students to think about what their favorite juices are and why, share what they know about color mixing, and think about what type of letter would be best for the writing to the president of Creative Juices, Co.

  • Grace’s students reflect on the juices they buy at home and why they prefer certain kinds. (0:50)
  • Grace asks a student to use background knowledge of color mixing to share what happens when red and blue are combined. (4:21)
  • Grace asks students about what they learned in fourth grade when choosing a letter format (business or friendly) for their recommendation to the juice company. (9:36)

This unit provides opportunities for students to practice their math skills. Where in the video do you see Grace highlighting connections to math?

Grace discusses tallying, proportions and ratios, and bar graphs.

  • Grace presents survey-taking (3:45) and tally charts as ways to keep track of consumers’ juice preferences. (7:23)
  • When mixing drops of food coloring, Grace points out that the proportions of color and water are important (5:42) and reminds students that they are using math rations when they mix colors. (6:05)
  • Grace discusses how to make the tally data meaningful and useful by communicating it to the juice company as a bar graph. (8:22) 
Get the Creative Juices Flowing / Kindergarten / West Palm Beach, FL
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Reflection Questions

What pre-literacy strategies to you see Lori using during this lesson?

Lori uses drawings to help her children identify the shape and color of strawberries and oranges; she has students come to the board to make their own tally marks on a large graph, and enlarges a worksheet so that the class can follow along as she fills it out.

  • To help her students come up with color suggestions for strawberry-orange juice, she draws a picture of each fruit on the white board. (3:22)
  • Lori has students keep track of their color choices by filling in a tally chart on the board. (7:02)
  • Lori enlarges the Research Report worksheet from the guide to poster size, and clearly fills in the results with the class. (13:09)

What does Lori do to make the content of the recorded message from the Creative Juices Company more accessible to her very young students?

Lori stops the tape frequently to explain what Jenny said. She repeats important ideas in her own words and reviews vocabulary that may be new to her students.

  • After as few sentences on the tape, Lori turns it off and explains what the Creative Juices Company is and what they make. (1:37)
  • Right after Jenny explains the problem, Lori turns off the tape and asks her students, “What does she want you to do?” (2:19)
  • After finishing the tape, Lori summarizes all the important content one more time. (3:08)

Students create their own rubric for high-quality and low-quality play dough and perform controlled experiments to identify properties of play dough ingredient mixtures.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
All Mixed Up / Kindergarten / West Palm Beach, FL
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Reflection Questions

How does Lori modify the EIE lesson to make it appropriate for her kindergarten students?

Lori covers the floor with a tarp for easy clean up, mixes the ingredients herself, and limits the number of tests done to determine quality.

  • Skipping the “snowman test” described in the guide, Lori has her students judge the usability of the play dough based only on the snake test. (5:12)
  • Lori taped a large waterproof tarp to the floor to prevent damage to her floors and carpets. (7:10)
  • Rather than having students mix the ingredients, Lori prepares one sample of each mixture and has students them pass the sample around for observation. (7:28, 8:14, 8:25, 9:59, and 10:54)

How does Lori do to help her students start to grasp the abstract idea of high-quality vs. low-quality play dough?

Lori uses broad synonyms for the term "high quality" to help her students infer its meaning. She also keeps her definition general and does not name individual properties.

  • Lori uses the terms “good-quality play dough” and then simply “good play dough” to help her students identify some of the features of the first sample of play dough. (1:38)
  • After introducing the second play dough sample she asks, “What’s wrong with this play dough?” (3:49) and later refers to it as, “bad play dough” (4:04).
  • Although her students do compare the way both play doughs feel and how well they form snakes, Lori does not confuse them with vocabulary words like texture and usability. 
All Mixed Up / Grade 5 / Chicopee, MA
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Reflection Questions

Where do you see Grace reinforcing a classroom culture that places value on scientific ways of thinking and expressing ideas?

Grace asks her students to provide support for how they know things, encourages descriptive language, and use of scientific terminology.

  • After one girl says that she thinks play dough is a solid, Grace asks, “How do you know that?” The student thinks for a minute and then explains, “It makes its own shape.” (1:24)
  • After one student describes the play dough as “bouncy”, Grace asks her how she knows it is bouncy. The student drops the play dough on the table to demonstrate and Grace adds, “That’s a good reason. You tested it!” (2:06)
  • Rather than asking what they notice about the low-quality play dough, Grace asks her students, “What are your observations of the properties of this?” (4:28)

What do you notice about the teamwork and cooperative learning skills that Grace’s students exhibit?

Grace’s students show evidence of training and practice with teamwork. They cooperate and collaborate well when handling and measuring materials.

  • When observing the flour and salt with a hand lens, teams share the lens and all contribute observations. (6:48)
  • Teams know how to assign roles. One boy says, “Now, I’m the mixer,” before reaching for the bowl. (7:08)
  • When measuring ingredients, one student holds the spoon while another scrapes the excess flour off the top. (7:19)
  • One girl takes on the role of recorder in her group, transcribing the observations of her partner who is stirring the mixture. (7:49)

Students apply their knowledge of solids, liquids, mixtures, and chemical engineering as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve a play dough making process.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Improving a Play Dough Process / Grade 5 / Chicopee, MA
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Reflection Questions

In what ways and in what parts of the lesson does Grace reinforce the steps of the Engineering Design Process (EDP)?

Grace refers to the EDP throughout the lesson and reminds students that it is a process that can be used to solve a variety of problems.

  • Grace starts by reminding students that they have used steps of the Engineering Design Process before, and now they will use all of the steps. (0:32)
  • After the Imagine step, Grace points to the EDP poster and reviews where they are in the process. (4:03)
  • When one boy mentions that he made changes to his original recipe, Grace teases him about how he “improved the improvement” and mentions that engineering is a process that never ends. (7:30)
  • Grace wraps up the lesson by reminding students that they can use the Engineering Design Process to solve other problems. (11:00)

What evidence do you see that Grace spent time preparing for this lesson before the class started?

Grace has cut out and mounted the play dough process steps, photocopied handout packets, and organized materials for distribution.

  • Grace has prepared a laminated set of play dough making process steps than she can post in order in front of the class. (2:04)
  • Grace created an EDP packet of handouts for each student so that they could record their ideas for each step of the Engineering Design Process. (4:07)
  • Grace has prepared a basin filled with materials for each group. She measured out portions of flour, salt, and water, and provided mixing bowls and measuring spoons. (5:31)
Improving a Play Dough Process / Kindergarten / West Palm Beach, FL
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Reflection Questions

Lori spends the first part of the lesson reviewing activities done yesterday. What findings does she review and why are they important?

Lori’s introduction includes all the information that students need to connect today’s activity to previous work and to remind them of previous observations that will help them modify the recipe today.

  • First, Lori summarizes what they observed from mixing ingredients. She reminds them that more flour made the play dough less sticky and more salt made the play dough grainy. (0:35)
  • Lori reviews the standard seven-step process for play dough making so that all children will remember to use the same procedure. (0:49)
  • Lori reviews the tests that the students used to help them define high- and low-quality play dough. She guides students to focus their attention on properties like softness and usability when judging their new play dough. (1:25)

Lori has anticipated that the mechanics of this lesson may be difficult for her students and has prepared accordingly. What plans has she made to avoid confusion?

Lori’s primary learning goal is for students to understand that they can use their knowledge to modify a play dough making process. She reduces potential distractions by measuring standard quantities, and inviting extra hands into the class to help manage materials. 

  • Lori has pre-measured all the dry ingredients for students to avoid the mess and inconsistency that would occur if 5-year olds portioned ingredients. (2:28)
  • Lori mentions that she has extra aides (moms and teachers) in the class that day to help students with the water. (2:35)
  • Students who want additional flour for their recipes are expected to raise their hands, and an adult will come to the group and add extra scoops to their bowls. (8:38)