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Lesson Plan 2 – Building the Biggest Walls


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies  



Title – Walls That Tell a Story Unit –
Lesson II – Building the Biggest Walls (Science)
By – Donna Hennessy
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Math, Science, Social Studies, Computers/Internet
Grade Level – 5

Walls That Tell a Story Unit

I. Table of Contents

II. Curriculum Web of Activities

III. Narrative Rationale

IV. Timeline for Implementation of Lessons

V. Unit Materials and Resources

VI. Lesson Plans:

      Lesson Plan 1 –

Mapping Walls

      (Math, Social Studies)

Lesson Plan 2 – Building the Biggest Walls (Science)

      Lesson Plan 3 –

Virtual Exploration of Lascaux Cave

      Lesson Plan 4 –

Breaking Down Walls

    (Language Arts, Other)

VII. Unit Comprehensive Assessment

VIII. Culminating Activity-Field Trip


Walls That Tell a Story

VI. Lesson Plan #2

Building the Biggest Walls

Lesson Rationale & Context:

    To help children use their critical thinking skills to build the biggest wall possible using a limited number of items (2 pieces of construction paper, 2 straws, and tape).

Learning Objectives:

  1. SWBAT work in groups to build a wall based on the specifications given.
  2. SWBAT compare the construction of their wall with the construction of walls built by other groups.
  3. SWBAT decide which wall is the tallest and what in its construction enabled them to make it so tall

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards:

      5.1.5.A.4 Science – Habits of Mind

      • Know that when solving a problem it is important to plan and get ideas and help from other people.


    5.1.5.A.3 Science – Habits of Mind

    • Recognize that when a science investigation is replicated, very similar results are expected.



      • Checklist for group objectives



    • 2 straws per group
    • 1 tape dispenser per group

Lesson Procedure:

      Anticipatory Set:

        1. Tell children we will be working in groups to see which group can construct the tallest wall.
        2. Show them the materials they will be using in order to build their wall.


      Main Activity:


        Independent Practice:

        1. Teacher will let the children go immediately to independent practice because this activity is based on the children’s own planning and design. Modeling a teacher’s creation might lead the children to design it the same way as the teacher.


        Guided Practice:

        1. Once the students and the teacher have created their walls, they will each get a turn to present them to their class (the teacher will go first). Each group will explain how the wall was designed, if they ran into any problems building it and the solutions they came up with to get around their problems.
        2. The children will also measure their walls to see which group built the tallest wall.



      1. Based on the information the children experienced and saw other groups do, they will each get a turn to explain what they would do differently if they had to build this wall again tomorrow.


    Children will be assessed by the actual wall itself. A rubric will be used to help the teacher judge the wall that was built, based on whether it is complete, if it is standing, if it was the tallest, if the children were able to describe what they did in order to build it.


    For ESL children, the teacher could get the words: wall, build, paper, tape, straw in their native language and use them when giving students instructions to help them understand the assignment.

Narrative of Pitfalls, Solutions, & Reflections:

      A group may have a problem working together. The teacher should write this information down so that when she is putting together groups in the future, she’ll remember not put them together again.
    Children may have problems getting their wall to stand. If this is the case, the teacher should have a rubric that considers other criteria, not just whether the wall is standing.

E-Mail Donna Hennessy !

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