Our Pet Rocks Need Houses

Our first big engineering challenge for the year was building houses for pet rocks. 


Client:  Our pet rocks

Problem:  They want new, comfortable houses.  The house needs to be big enough to hold the rock.  And it needs to be comfortable for the rock.

Explore: Think about what a house needs.  Look at the different materials we have available.  Think about what other materials you might want to find. (We had various boxes, 'junk', tape, glue, and markers available.)

Design: Make a plan of what you will make.  Tell a teacher or tell a friend.  Draw pictures of it if you want.

Create: Use your plan to create a house.

Test: Try it out!  Can the rock fit in the house?  Is it comfortable in the house?

Make It Better:  If the house isn’t big enough, how can you change it?  If the house isn’t comfortable enough, how can you change it?  Or if you want to add or change something just because you want to change it, what is your plan.  Then go back to the Design step and make your plan.

What is your Pet Rock’s name?


The Children's Reactions:

The children did a great job with this challenge! They chose rocks and boxes and then searched through the 'junk' to find materials to add to the houses.  Most found socks or ribbon and made beds. Some used papertowel rolls as chimneys or even an elevator.  They used jar lids for water or food bowls and some made bathtubs.  One made an airplane for her pet rock and another made a "relaxing swing."  They named their rocks Catty, Treefoo Tom, Nolan, Rock, Mommy, Rock and Sooey Clean.  While working on the houses, they had to solve problems like how to keep the chimney from falling over, how to support the box top that was being used as a second floor and how to keep the water bowl from falling out.  More tape was usually the answer!  Working through these problems will help them build problems solving strategies to use throughout life.