It’s March which means it’s time to start thinking about some leprechaun fun! In my classroom we’ve built leprechaun traps. I am going to walk you through what we do on the day of the actual building of these traps.
- Send home a parent letter asking for supplies
- Read How to Catch a Leprechaun
- Show pictures of leprechaun traps
- Draw up the plans
- Build the traps
- Write a how to paragraph
We go through this project with the Engineering Design Process in mind! Below I will go into further details about this!
About a week before St. Patrick’s Day I send home a letter asking for materials to help the students build their leprechaun traps. The letter explains the educational benefits of the project as well.
Read the Book
This is the Define the Problem Step.
Prior to building, I bring my students to the rug to read the story How to Catch a Leprechaun. Another one of my favorite’s is the Night Before St. Patrick’s Day. After we read the story we talk about how leprechauns typically show up to the classroom on St. Patrick’s Day and it’s our job to make sure they don’t mess up our classroom!
Show Examples of Leprechaun Traps
This is the Brainstorm Step.
This process gets the students excited and thinking about their own trap. I literally open up my St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest board and scroll through all the pictures. We stop and talk about the different ideas that we see. The kids will squeal and laugh as they anticipate what their trap will look like.
Draw up the Plans
This is the Design Step.
Next, I give them a plan sheet for them to draw up their plans. This is is an essential part of the STEM process and setting aside the time for your students to complete this process will force them to slow down and actually develop a plan. I also explain to my students that part of being an engineer involves the ability to be flexible and willing to change the plans after doing some testing.
Time to Build
This is the Build…Test…Redesign Step.
Here’s the logistics and management of this step. I lay out a table filled with supplies from my cabinets. This would include construction paper, yarn, q-tips, markers, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, etc. Each student uses their own box (I bring in a few from home for those who don’t have one). The students start with the materials that they brought from home. Anything they don’t plan to use, they put on the table for others to use.
I remind the students to use their plan sheet to help guide them through their building process. I encourage them to think about how the leprechaun will use the trap. Do they have something that will lure the leprechaun over to their trap (i.e. gold or glitter)? Do they have signs that tell the leprechauns what to do or where to go? How will they trick the leprechaun? How will they capture the leprechaun? I also tell them that their design does not have to be perfect the first time. This is part of the design process.
How to Paragraph
This is the Share Step.
Last, the kids are given a chance to walk around the classroom and look at everyone’s traps. Then they sit down and write out the step by step process of how they built their leprechaun trap. Some years we’ve had time to invite other classrooms to walk through to take a look at their creations. During these viewings, my students have a chance to sit by their trap and read their paragraph to students who stop by to look at their trap. (included in the freebie)
St. Patrick’s Day Links
Here are the links to everything you need for the month of March!
P.S. If you end up doing leprechaun traps this year, I’d be THRILLED if you tagged me @luckylittlelearners on social media so I can see your students’ masterpieces!