We’ve spent the last three weeks of 1st grade learning about materials engineering. We asked the kids to construct a wall to keep rabbits out of a garden. Their initial sketches were hilarious and included lasers, sentries, and rockets. After adjusting their expectations a bit, we discussed the Engineering Design Process, tested different materials for the best mortar (both strong and flexible) and the kids paired up and constructed their walls. Last week we tested the dry walls with a “wrecking ball” made from a bagged golf ball tied to the back of a chair. The kids had so much fun and surprisingly most of their walls held up pretty well. The best mortar ended up being 2 parts sand and one part clay. I wouldn’t have guessed it. Even I get to learn things!