Two Scoops Are Better Than One!

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The SWBAT use the engineering process to develop their ideas with a team.

Big Idea

Two scoops are better than one! We can work in teams to accomplish a task. First let's choose our best plan for our hand pollinators and then create a diagram of our new design.

Teacher Notes

Activity Description:

The children will have a ball working with a partner to develop their idea for creating a vanilla plant pollinator.  This is the SECOND part of an end of the unit task, which will take about 3 days to complete from start to finish.   In the previous lesson, the students were challenged to create a vanilla flower pollinator.  They defined the problem, researched, got the specs and brainstormed a  plan for this challenge.  In this part, students will work with a partner to first choose then develop their plans by drawing a diagram depicting their plan for their vanilla plant pollinator.  They will also be creating the list of materials needed for the task.

NGSS Connection:

As a culmination of the unit on interdependency, this lesson incorporates many of the NGSS standards and engineering practices. In the NGSS, the children must develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal pollinating plants.  The children will be building upon prior knowledge of pollinators and the pollination process to help them create their plan for their model of a pollinator. In this challenge they will also realize that the shape of the object also relates to the function of their design.  And of  course, it will relate to the standard of plants and animals depending upon one another. 


  • aprons and soda hats (totally optional but fun).  Since they are part of Ben and Jerry's workforce, I added this for fun.  They kiddos loved it, but it is not necessary!  I bought mine off of




5 minutes

To engage the children I call the children over to our group area.  I start with a fun question to get them hooked in the lesson.

What in the world can possibly be better than one scoop of ice cream????  Two Scoops!  What can possibly be better than working by yourself??? You got it! Working with a partner! Raise your hand if you have ever heard the saying that two heads are better than one.   It is so much more fun working with a partner than it is by yourself.  What are some reasons why you think it would be better? 

Some of the children's answers were that it is fun, you can be with a friend, you can come up with more ideas, and you share the work.

Today you are going to get a chance to get that double scoop of fun, working with a partner to complete your group design of a vanilla plant pollinator.

 When we work with a partner we need to be respectful of the other person.  Let's see if we can make a list on the board of what it "sounds like" when we are respectful to each other.

I have the children make a list of what it sounds like since they can more readily think of what would be said rather than listing situations.  It also gives them a reference for later so when we are doing partner work they can look up and see what they can say in order to be a good partner.

I elicit their answers and write them on an anchor chart so it can be displayed in the room for their reference.  

This will be a great list to look at when you are working with your partner.  It will give you ideas of what you can say to be respectful.  I am going to leave it right up here so you can look at it as often as you would like.  If you think of more ideas for our chart, we can certainly add to it.





10 minutes

For this part of the activity, I have the children sit at their own seats since they will need to refer to their Clock Buddy paper. 

I try to get the children back into the frame of mind from yesterday's work.  I hand out their Vanilla Pollinator Challenge folders from yesterday's lesson.  These are the folders that the children put their Define the Problem worksheet and their Brainstorming worksheet into (see link).

Attention all Ben and Jerry workers.  Remember yesterday when I gave you all a challenge?  I asked you to try to design a hand pollinator that would fit inside of a vanilla plant, just like the small bee.  We worked together to define the problem and to understand exactly what was expected of us.  Today we are going to work on further expanding your plan with a partner.  Remember that two scoops are better than one!  I am going to have you work with your clock buddies today.  So I need everyone to pull out their Clock Buddy sheet.

Working with their Clock Buddies assures that the children will be working with someone of their choice since they were the people who chose their 6 buddies to begin with.  This is always motivating, especially when you have a task as the one they have been presented.

Today we will be working with your 12:00 partner.  Please put your Clock Buddy sheet away.  Move by your Clock Buddy partner and be sure to bring your Vanilla Pollinator Challenge folder along with you. 

Once the children have all found a seat next to their partner, I ask them to pull out their Brainstorming Sheet.  

Yesterday you brainstormed lots of different ideas for designing a vanilla plant pollinator.  You evaluated your ideas and chose your best one.  This is the idea that you circled with a red crayon.  I want you to think about your idea.  I want you to explain your idea to your partner.  Explain the main parts of your design idea.  Explain things like how your design works and what it is made of.  

When your partner is talking I want everyone to be a great listener.  Let's review what being a great listener is like.  Who can tell me what are some things you can do to show you are a being a good listener?

We talk about being great listeners almost daily in my class, so the class easily answers the question.  We have an What Good Listeners Do Anchor Chart up for them to refer to also.  I feel you can never talk about it often enough!  Here's what we came up with to finish this sentence--a good listener......

  • faces the person who is talking
  • looks in the person's eyes
  • doesn't talk when the other person is talking
  • stops and asks the other person to keep talking, if you are both trying to talk at once
  • truly listens to what the other person is saying
  • asks questions to find out more

After you have both shared your ideas, you are going to have to combine the best part of both of your designs or choose the design you like best for the remainder of this project.  You are going to have to make some compromises and you may not be able to do exactly what you want.  Remember to use some of our respectful words when working with your partner and to be a good listener.  Remember that two scoops are better than one!  

I really want the children to get the concept of working together, so I have them work in partner groups for this project.  This helps prepare them for the workplace, since many times employees have to work in teams to accomplish a goal.  Second grade students sometimes have not had the experience of working with someone and making compromises.  But even at the second grade level, children should be able to learn how to compromise, since this is a life skill.

I let them work with their partner to figure out which design they are going to move forward with.  Once most groups have made their decision I continue with the directions.

It looks like all of you have worked with your partner and figured out which design or combination of designs you will be using.  For the next part you will need the worksheet titled Our Best Idea.   You will create a diagram of your new design on this worksheet.  Remember when we draw a diagram we need to label all of the parts.  Again, you will be working with a partner and will need to use respectful words and actions.

The children continue working with their partners to create a diagram of their design.  I walk around the room and make sure they are working respectfully and accomplishing the task.  I try not to lead the children in their ideas, but rather just guide them.  I make comments on how they are working together as a team, trying to give out many compliments.  I find that when I give the compliments children other than with whom I am speaking are  listening and improve their skills also.





10 minutes

I call the children to come back in the corner.  We need to "debrief" by reviewing what we have accomplished today. Our big idea for the day was "Two scoops are better than one."  I ask the children what it means.  We discuss their ideas.   

Today you worked so well.  Ben and Jerry would be impressed.  I am so proud of you and how well you worked together with a partner.  I saw a lot of wonderful things going on.  What are some things you or your partner said that showed you were treating each other with respect?

I make a list of their ideas.

You worked together as part of the engineering process.  You each shared your idea for a design as your partner listened with respect.  This can be hard since you might have to compromise and not use your exact idea.  That is very adult-like behavior.  You did a great job.  Engineers have to do that all the time.  

I hold up the poster Engineering Design-Choosing Your Best Design.  

You had to figure out which design or parts of each design that you thought would work the best.  We call that choosing the best design.  Engineers look at different ideas, just like you did, and figure out which idea is feasible, or workable.

Then after you figured out which design you were going to use you worked together to develop that one design.  

I hold up the poster Engineering Design-Develop.  

You had to draw a sketch and label each part.  What is that called?  Yes, it is a diagram.  Diagrams can be very informative.  They show the parts and how each part works.  It is a very important step.  Tomorrow is going to be such a fun day!  You get to build and test your design.