The Three little Pigs. The Three Bears. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. There are many variations of the Three Pigsand other fairytales that you can use for this unit. There are many fairy tales that have the number three in it (Cinderella's three Step sisters).
This was a design technology unit we used at our school in first grade to introduce the strength of structures. We built towers with an assortment of materials: legos, pattern blocks, cubes, scrap materials from our local recylcing retail outlet (foam, plastic , cans, plastic concession cups etc.). We explored with these materials for awhile and tested their strength by having the " big bad wolf" come along and try to blow over the structure. Many of the structures didn't even hold up long enough to fall by the huff and puff of the wolf. This was a great experience for us to look at the importance of the base and the matter of balance. There was alot of experimenting in this stage.
Each group had to work together to make their structure stand. There were four stations set up with a tub of materials. This activity took four days to complete. The children had to draw a model of their structure each day and try to decribe it. Identify the material and the numbert of materiasl they used. There was also a key made so we would know what type of materials they used.
The next activity was to test the strength of the triangle. This is where we came in with the Three Little Pigs. There was a discussion of materials that the three pigs used in their houses. What worked and what didn't work. We talked about the strength of joining things together. We used stirring straws and pipe cleaners to put together straws in a triangular and square shapes. The children made structures with these. We also used strips of paper with holes punched at each end and attached with brass fasteners. This really showed that triangles were stronger than rectangles and squares and how a triangle could reinforce the shape. Another fun activity is to use toothpicks with marshamallows or plasticene clay to make a structure.
Our final project was to build a house that could with stand wind and the weather. We used an electric fan to blow on the house. If it stood then their structure was safe.
In the literature and language arts area of the unit we read many variationsof the stories and compared how these stories were alike and different. We made big books from the stories in K and 1 and in grade 3 we wrote our own fairy tales. The stories like the Three Billy Goats Gruff could have led us into bridges and the Three Kittens into investigations. The Three Bears could have led us into classification and size. Family roles and responsibilities are also an important part of the unit. A lot of vocabulary we used in the unit described objects, measurements and characteristics of people and things.
I'm sure once you begin this unit you will find many ares you can integrate.