Lesson 1

A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape

TarPul Storybook / Grade 3 / Louisville, KY

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape, L1

A storybook introduces the engineering challenge and context. In this story, Suman, a boy from Nepal, learns about geotechnical engineering as he helps evaluate a site for a TarPul.

Reflection Questions

What literacy strategies do you see Laura using as she reads the storybook?

Laura asks children to predict and relate parts of the storybook to similar experiences they may have had. She also requires children to use evidence from the storybook to justify their answers to post-reading questions. 

  • Laura asks her students to predict what they think will happen in a chapter based on the title of that chapter.  (1:30)
  • Laura asks children to compare and contrast aspects of Suman’s experiences to their own experiences. At the beginning of the story Laura has children compare and contrast Suman’s home to their own home. (2:15) She later asks them to think about whether they have ever had to tell a relative or friend and tell something they didn’t want to hear (as Suman has to in the storybook). (7:00)
  • After reading the storybook, Laura has students play “Justified True and False,” which requires them to pull evidence from the storybook to support the answers they give. (8:00) 

Where do you see Laura previewing the engineering activities kids will be doing later on?

Laura uses several parts of the storybook to preview later engineering activities, creating familiarity that kids can build on later in the unit.

  • When they get to the core sample illustration in the storybook, Laura stops to talk about the image, ask children what they think that machine might be made of, and explain the model of that machine they will use in class to take core samples. (4:20)
  • Towards the middle of the story, when the author refers to earth in the playground being packed down, Laura stops to ask if children remember a previous mention of soil and earth being packed down. Whether soil is packed or loose will become an important variable for children during their design challenge. (5:00)
  • After wrapping up the story, Laura shows the model site children will use in Lesson 2 and relates it to a previous storybook discussion about how geotechnical engineers need to use technology to help them see into the ground. (11:00)