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Grade 3s Create Models to Stop Erosion

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The Grade 3s wrapped up their summative project for their IB PYP Unit of Inquiry on ‘How the World Works,’ where they explored the central idea of ‘the natural features of the Earth have been formed over time and continue to change.’ 

For their summative project, students based their work on the design cycle—ask, imagine, plan, create and improve—as a way to come up with models on how to slow down the erosion at the beach. 

To start, the students visited the school’s beaches where they observed the ocean, shoreline and the bank. They were then posed with the question “What is the problem?” Students were then tasked to come up with their ideas on the problem and to come up with solutions. 

After being partnered up into ‘companies,’ the students shared their solutions and came up with a combined solution using their imagination and what they had learned so far in the unit about landforms and erosion. Then they named their pretend companies and even designed company logos. 

On creation day, the partnerships made models showing how they planned to slow down the erosion at the beach in front of the school buildings. They all used a cut-open plastic bottle, filled it with sand, and various objects to represent the real ones included in their plans. 

Students had the chance to test out the models to see if they were successful against rain and the ocean. Finally, they took time to reflect on their plan, if it was successful or not, and what they would change next time. 

Faye and Cole were partnered up and created the company “The Ocean Erosion Busters.” 

“Our model included a big metal wall, and we put some rocks around it so it wouldn’t fall,” explained Cole. 

“We wanted to use a wall so the water from the ocean wouldn’t be able to go in,” said Faye. 

The school avoided significant erosion during their demonstration, but after reflecting, they did say there were some changes they would like to make. 

“We would probably put another layer of metal because it was close to falling,” they said. 

Lewin and Julie partnered up to create the “Erosion Helpers,” where they used different materials to create their model.

“We had tracks made of tinfoil that led down, and at the bottom, we had more tinfoil where the water would form,” explained Lewin.

In the end, one of the tracks came loose but it still worked and the school was saved.

“Next time we might want to add something to stabilize the tracks more,” said Lewin. 

“Seeing the success of the model makes this fun,” added Julie. 

Way to go, Grade 3s! You created such neat and creative models to find ways to stop erosion!