Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

Hammer and nails

Hammer and nails (Andy Gries, Pixabay)

Which Fastener is Best?

Let's Talk Science
Format
Text,  Images
Science,  Technology & Engineering
Characteristics of Objects
Properties of Materials

Summary

Students develop Planning (selecting and using materials) and Communicating skills as they investigate which fastener is best for joining different types of recycled materials to make a useful object.

Overview

This inquiry expands on students’ exploration of types of fasteners to investigate which fastener is best for a particular job and why.

Timing

30-45 minutes

Setting the Stage

There are many times in the day when we need to join things together. The ability to choose the best fastener for the job is one that develops over time, often from trial and error. Educators should provide students with multiple opportunities to explore and work with a wide variety of fasteners in an environment where they are allowed to take risks and to make and learn from their mistakes. This inquiry expands on students’ exploration of types of fasteners to investigate which fastener is best for a particular job and why. It is recommended that students participate in the Finding Out About Fasteners lesson prior to doing this lesson. 

Completed lunch bag
Completed lunch bag (©2019 Let’s Talk Science)
Creating a lunch bag
Creating a lunch bag (©2019 Let’s Talk Science).


This inquiry could begin from:

 

  • a book such as If You Lived Here: Houses of the World that provokes discussion about how different houses around the world are held together. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “I wonder how the house in this picture was put together – would the builder have used the same fasteners as the builder of our houses would have used? Why do you think that?” 
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche (Source: hmhbooks.com).

 

  • a design and build challenge that requires students to join a variety of materials. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “I notice that you chose to use staples to put that part of your marble run together. Why did you choose staples rather than another type of fastener?”
Sheets of coloured paper
Sheets of coloured paper (Source: Alexander Stein via Pixabay).
  • a collection of fasteners that require a tool (e.g., staples and a stapler) to join things, placed on a table for exploration and discussion. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “What objects in our room can you find that need to be put together with some kind of fasteners before they can be used?” (e.g., furniture, students’ backpacks, books, etc.) “Which ones use a fastener that need a tool to make them work?” (e.g., furniture may require screws that need a screwdriver or Allen wrench; books may require glue that is heated in a special device; backpacks may require heavy thread that requires an industrial sewing machine to sew)
Stapler
Stapler (Source: Manual Salguero via Pixabay).

 

 

Details

Materials
  • a variety of fasteners such as: Velcro, laces, masking and scotch tape, glue, brass fasteners (split pins), twist ties, clothespins, etc.
  • a variety of recycled materials such as paper towel rolls, plastic containers of various sizes and shapes, cardboard milk or juice containers, egg cartons, small boxes, etc.
  • scissors
  • scrap paper (e.g., construction paper, newspaper, etc.)
  • other common materials such as straws, toothpicks, wooden stir sticks, paper plates and cups, etc.
Possible materials for investigating properties
Possible materials for investigating properties (©2019 Let's Talk Science).
Materials
  • a variety of fasteners such as: Velcro, laces, masking and scotch tape, glue, brass fasteners (split pins), twist ties, clothespins, etc.
  • a variety of recycled materials such as paper towel rolls, plastic containers of various sizes and shapes, cardboard milk or juice containers, egg cartons, small boxes, etc.
  • scissors
  • scrap paper (e.g., construction paper, newspaper, etc.)
  • other common materials such as straws, toothpicks, wooden stir sticks, paper plates and cups, etc.
Possible materials for investigating properties
Possible materials for investigating properties (©2019 Let's Talk Science).
Preparation
  • If you do not already have a collection of recycled materials in your classroom, ask parents for help in collecting them for this inquiry.
Preparation
  • If you do not already have a collection of recycled materials in your classroom, ask parents for help in collecting them for this inquiry.
What to Do

Students develop the skills of Planning (selecting and using materials) and Communicating as they as they investigate which fastener is best for joining different types of recycled materials to make a useful object.

Students:

  • explore the available materials.
  • brainstorm useful objects that could be created using a selection of these materials, and describe the purpose of the object.
  • make a decision about what useful object they want to create (individually, in pairs or in a small group).
  • determine the materials that are best suited to create the useful object from those that are available to them.
  • determine what kind of fastener(s) will be best to use based on the materials they have chosen.
    • Educators engage with students during this part of the inquiry, noticing and naming what choices students have made with regard to materials and fasteners. 
    • Educators ask clarifying/ probing questions that provoke further discussion about the object’s purpose, the appropriateness of the materials for the intended purpose, and the fasteners being used in relation to the materials used and purpose of the object.
    • Educators encourage students to try different options if a fastener does not work.
  • record their choices of materials and fasteners, noting any changes that are made throughout the process.
  • share the object they have created, how it will be used, and any challenges they had joining the component parts together. Students use appropriate terminology for materials and processes.
Student exemplar of small pouch created using a variety of fasteners
Student exemplar of small pouch created using a variety of fasteners (©2019 Let's Talk Science).

 

Materials for lunch bag challenge
Materials for lunch bag challenge (©2019 Let's Talk Science).

 

What to Do

Students develop the skills of Planning (selecting and using materials) and Communicating as they as they investigate which fastener is best for joining different types of recycled materials to make a useful object.

Students:

  • explore the available materials.
  • brainstorm useful objects that could be created using a selection of these materials, and describe the purpose of the object.
  • make a decision about what useful object they want to create (individually, in pairs or in a small group).
  • determine the materials that are best suited to create the useful object from those that are available to them.
  • determine what kind of fastener(s) will be best to use based on the materials they have chosen.
    • Educators engage with students during this part of the inquiry, noticing and naming what choices students have made with regard to materials and fasteners. 
    • Educators ask clarifying/ probing questions that provoke further discussion about the object’s purpose, the appropriateness of the materials for the intended purpose, and the fasteners being used in relation to the materials used and purpose of the object.
    • Educators encourage students to try different options if a fastener does not work.
  • record their choices of materials and fasteners, noting any changes that are made throughout the process.
  • share the object they have created, how it will be used, and any challenges they had joining the component parts together. Students use appropriate terminology for materials and processes.
Student exemplar of small pouch created using a variety of fasteners
Student exemplar of small pouch created using a variety of fasteners (©2019 Let's Talk Science).

 

Materials for lunch bag challenge
Materials for lunch bag challenge (©2019 Let's Talk Science).

 

Assessment

Observe and document, using anecdotal comments, photos and/or video recordings, student’s ability to:

  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students select appropriate materials from those available to them to create their objects based on the purpose of the object 
  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students select the fastener(s) that are best suited to fasten the materials 
  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students reflect on their choices and the challenges that were presented in the creation of their useful object 
  • Communicate – students describe the useful object they have created, their purpose and the materials and fasteners that they used, and the challenges they encountered in the creation of their object, using appropriate vocabulary
Student constructing a cart on wheels
Student constructing a cart on wheels (Source: DGLimages via iStockphoto).

 

Bird feeders and nesting boxes
Bird feeders and nesting boxes (Source: Efes Kitap via Pixabay).

 

Assessment

Observe and document, using anecdotal comments, photos and/or video recordings, student’s ability to:

  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students select appropriate materials from those available to them to create their objects based on the purpose of the object 
  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students select the fastener(s) that are best suited to fasten the materials 
  • Plan: Select and Use Materials – students reflect on their choices and the challenges that were presented in the creation of their useful object 
  • Communicate – students describe the useful object they have created, their purpose and the materials and fasteners that they used, and the challenges they encountered in the creation of their object, using appropriate vocabulary
Student constructing a cart on wheels
Student constructing a cart on wheels (Source: DGLimages via iStockphoto).

 

Bird feeders and nesting boxes
Bird feeders and nesting boxes (Source: Efes Kitap via Pixabay).

 

Co-constructed Learning
Students:
Saying, Doing, Representing
Educator:
Responding, Challenging
Students select and use the most appropriate materials from those available to create a useful object
  • What useful object have you decided to create?”
  • “I notice that you chose a milk carton to make the base of your pencil holder. Why did you choose that material?”
  • “Why do you think the egg carton will make the best base for your greenhouse?”
Students select and use the most appropriate fastener(s) based on their choice of materials.
  • Which fastener do you think will be the best to use?” 
  • “I notice that you tried the white glue and then came back for the glue gun. What happened that made you change your mind? Why do you think the glue from the glue gun is a better choice?”
  • “What happened when you used the yarn to carry your lunch bag? What other materials or fasteners can you use to prevent that from happening?”
Students communicate the purpose of their useful object, why they chose the materials and fasteners that they used, and the challenges they encountered in the creation of their object, using appropriate vocabulary (e.g., fastener, fastener, recycled).
  • Why did you choose to build your lunch bag from those materials?”
  • “How did changing from string to yarn for the handles make your lunch bag more reliable?”
  • “If you could have had any other recycled material to use, what would you have chosen and why?”

 

Co-constructed Learning
Students:
Saying, Doing, Representing
Educator:
Responding, Challenging
Students select and use the most appropriate materials from those available to create a useful object
  • What useful object have you decided to create?”
  • “I notice that you chose a milk carton to make the base of your pencil holder. Why did you choose that material?”
  • “Why do you think the egg carton will make the best base for your greenhouse?”
Students select and use the most appropriate fastener(s) based on their choice of materials.
  • Which fastener do you think will be the best to use?” 
  • “I notice that you tried the white glue and then came back for the glue gun. What happened that made you change your mind? Why do you think the glue from the glue gun is a better choice?”
  • “What happened when you used the yarn to carry your lunch bag? What other materials or fasteners can you use to prevent that from happening?”
Students communicate the purpose of their useful object, why they chose the materials and fasteners that they used, and the challenges they encountered in the creation of their object, using appropriate vocabulary (e.g., fastener, fastener, recycled).
  • Why did you choose to build your lunch bag from those materials?”
  • “How did changing from string to yarn for the handles make your lunch bag more reliable?”
  • “If you could have had any other recycled material to use, what would you have chosen and why?”

 

Cross-curricular Connections

Literacy

  • communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner (e.g., explain the purpose of their object, reasons for choices of materials and fasteners, challenges)

Numeracy

  • measurement (e.g., area (length x width) of material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle)
Cross-curricular Connections

Literacy

  • communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner (e.g., explain the purpose of their object, reasons for choices of materials and fasteners, challenges)

Numeracy

  • measurement (e.g., area (length x width) of material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle)
Extending the Learning

If your students are interested in learning more, the following may provoke their curiosity:

  • Provide students with some pieces of wood, a collection of screws with different pitches (the pitch is the angle of the ridges on the screws: the steeper the pitch, the harder it is to twist the screw into the wood), and a collection of different kinds of screwdrivers. Challenge students to try to drive the screws into the wood and take them out again. Ask questions such as:
    • “Which screws are easier to drive into the wood?  Which are easier to remove? Why do you think this is the case?”
    • “Which types of screw heads are the easiest to use? Why do you say that?”
    • “What kinds of objects might we use these kinds of screws and screwdrivers to join together?”
  • Students explore the concept of recycling by finding out what materials their community recycles, why certain materials cannot be recycled, and what happens to those that are not recyclable. Some students may be interested in investigating:
    • current innovative uses for common objects like plastic water bottles
    • what can be done to reduce and/or reuse materials that are not recyclable
Screws and screwdrivers
Screws and screwdrivers (Source: Allan Washbrook via Pixabay).

 

Recycling bin
Recycling bin (Source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay).

 

Extending the Learning

If your students are interested in learning more, the following may provoke their curiosity:

  • Provide students with some pieces of wood, a collection of screws with different pitches (the pitch is the angle of the ridges on the screws: the steeper the pitch, the harder it is to twist the screw into the wood), and a collection of different kinds of screwdrivers. Challenge students to try to drive the screws into the wood and take them out again. Ask questions such as:
    • “Which screws are easier to drive into the wood?  Which are easier to remove? Why do you think this is the case?”
    • “Which types of screw heads are the easiest to use? Why do you say that?”
    • “What kinds of objects might we use these kinds of screws and screwdrivers to join together?”
  • Students explore the concept of recycling by finding out what materials their community recycles, why certain materials cannot be recycled, and what happens to those that are not recyclable. Some students may be interested in investigating:
    • current innovative uses for common objects like plastic water bottles
    • what can be done to reduce and/or reuse materials that are not recyclable
Screws and screwdrivers
Screws and screwdrivers (Source: Allan Washbrook via Pixabay).

 

Recycling bin
Recycling bin (Source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay).

 

Supporting Media
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche (Source: hmhbooks.com).

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World
By Giles Laroche
Step into unique homes from around the world and discover the many fascinating ways in which people live and have lived.
ISBN: 9780547238920

Finding Out About Fasteners (Lessons) 

Students develop and apply sorting & classifying, comparing & contrasting and communicating skills as they examine different kinds of fasteners and their uses.

 

Supporting Media
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche
Cover of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche (Source: hmhbooks.com).

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World
By Giles Laroche
Step into unique homes from around the world and discover the many fascinating ways in which people live and have lived.
ISBN: 9780547238920

Finding Out About Fasteners (Lessons) 

Students develop and apply sorting & classifying, comparing & contrasting and communicating skills as they examine different kinds of fasteners and their uses.

 

Learn More

Simple Machines: Screws (Picture Collection)

5 images of some objects such as corkscrews that have a mechanism of an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder to create movement.

Learn More

Simple Machines: Screws (Picture Collection)

5 images of some objects such as corkscrews that have a mechanism of an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder to create movement.