ALEX Lesson Plan


Making it Big

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Mary Boyce
System: Eufaula City
School: Eufaula City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:NASA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34219


Making it Big


This lesson will allow students to investigate how to create new and creative structures using small pieces.

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
3 ) Demonstrate and explain how structures made from small pieces (e.g., linking cubes, blocks, building bricks, creative construction toys) can be disassembled and then rearranged to make new and different structures.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Matter and Its Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Demonstrate the disassembling of a structure into small pieces.
  • Demonstrate the rearranging of the same small pieces into a new and different structure.
  • Explain orally or in writing how the structure was disassembled and reassembled into a new and different structure.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Demonstrate
  • Explain
  • Structure
  • Pieces
  • Disassemble
  • Rearrange
  • Different
Students know:
  • Different properties are suited for different purposes.
  • A great variety of objects can be built up from a small set of pieces.
  • Structures can be disassembled and rearranged into new and different structures.
Students are able to:
  • Disassemble a structure into small pieces.
  • Assemble a new structure using the same small pieces.
  • Provide a written and/or oral explanation that correlates with a demonstration detailing the characteristics of the new object or objects.
Students understand that:
  • Structures may be broken into smaller pieces and a new structure, that is different in size or shape, can be formed from the same pieces.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Solids and Liquids, FOSS

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E4.6: Some Earth materials have properties either in their present form or after design and modification that make them useful in solving human problems and enhancing the quality of life, as in the case of materials used for building or fuels used for heating and transportation.

NAEP Statement::
P4.4: Some objects are composed of a single substance; others are composed of more than one substance.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.2.3 Participate in building then disassembling structures to make new structures.

Local/National Standards:

2-PS1-3. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account of how an object made of a small set of pieces can be disassembled and made into a new object

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will investigate and present how structures can be disassembled and the pieces rearranged to make a new structure. 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Cause and effect associations will be made during the building process.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

0 to 30 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • linking cubes
  • wooden blocks
  • building bricks
  • creative construction toys
  • typical class items like-books, notebooks, tissue boxes, crayon boxes,
  • poster board or chart paper
  • paper
  • pencils
  • crayons/makers

Technology Resources Needed:

  • laptop
  • digital camera
  • overhead projector 


Teacher will understand and convey to students that many structures are made of smaller items.  


Activating Strategy/Motivate

Ask students if you wanted to build a fort in our room what would you need?  Students brainstorm share ideas.  Show video using building blocks to demonstrate a larger structure that is made from smaller pieces.

Step 1: Use a KWL and post it on chart paper. Have students tell what they Know , Want to Know, and Want to Learn about how big structures are made. Consider using the online KWL Creator by ReadWriteThink.

Step 2: Have students in cooperative groups of five or seven.   Have assorted building materials for each group to choose from.  Each group choose one building item per person to use to build a structure and tell its possible use. 

Step 3: Have each group stop after five to seven minutes and take a photo of their work.  Have the group disassemble their structure and then reassemble it in a different way.  After five to seven minutes all stop and take a photo of their structure.

Step 4:  Have all students clean up materials and write and draw what they learned with their group.  Teacher collect all the photos to be displayed while students work on their journals.

Step 5: Teacher and groups present their structures to the rest of the class.  Groups explain what small materials they used to make their structure and possibly what the structures are.

Wrap Up:

What have we learned?

Add the L to the KWL. Students should have learned that small pieces are used to build bigger structures and you can arrange them in different ways to make new structures.  Add additional observations that students notice.


Assessment Strategies

Teacher will formatively assess students understanding that big things come from small things and correct misconceptions.


Plan additional structures with a specific purpose with other materials the students collect themselves.

Collect photos of structures online or from magazines and identify the smaller pieces that made the bigger structures



When grouping make sure you have a high ability student paired with your students who need more assistance. 

When writing or drawing in the journal the students can work cooperatively with a partner instead of alone.

Instead of writing in the journal about what they learned they may draw.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.