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Which Fastener is Best?

Hammer and nails

Hammer and nails (Andy Gries, Pixabay)

Hammer and nails

Hammer and nails (Andy Gries, Pixabay)

Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will learn about the different types of fasteners to investigate which fastener is best for a particular material or job and why.

Overview

Activities Timing Student Grouping Description
Minds-On: Exploring Materials 15-20 minutes Large group Students learn about the properties of materials.
Action: Which Fastener is Best? 45-50 minutes Independent or Small group Students explore different fasteners and decide which one is best according to material.
Consolidation: Show and Share 15-20 minutes Large group Students participate in a Show and Share of the object they have made.

This lesson can be done over a few days.

Students will:

  • Learn about the different types of fasteners in relation to material

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Learn about the different types of fasteners in relation to material

Students can:

  • Identify which fastener is the best choice as they make their own small object

Success Criteria

Students can:

  • Identify which fastener is the best choice as they make their own small object
Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ participation and sharing during the group discussions (Action) and (Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Listen to and record students as they share observations (Action).

Products

  • Students could show and share the object they make with the class (Consolidation).

 

Evidence of Student Learning

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ participation and sharing during the group discussions (Action) and (Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Listen to and record students as they share observations (Action).

Products

  • Students could show and share the object they make with the class (Consolidation).

 

Students will:

  • Learn about the different types of fasteners in relation to material

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Learn about the different types of fasteners in relation to material

Students can:

  • Identify which fastener is the best choice as they make their own small object

Success Criteria

Students can:

  • Identify which fastener is the best choice as they make their own small object
Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ participation and sharing during the group discussions (Action) and (Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Listen to and record students as they share observations (Action).

Products

  • Students could show and share the object they make with the class (Consolidation).

 

Evidence of Student Learning

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ participation and sharing during the group discussions (Action) and (Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Listen to and record students as they share observations (Action).

Products

  • Students could show and share the object they make with the class (Consolidation).

 

 

Materials and Preparation 

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • A variety of fasteners (e.g., buttons, glue, masking and scotch tape, zippers, nails, screws, twist ties, staples, Velcro, shoe laces, clothespins, etc.)
  • A variety of craft materials (eg., paper, scrap fabric, cardboard, etc.)
A small set of a variety of each of these per individual student
For teacher use

 

Materials

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • A variety of fasteners (e.g., buttons, glue, masking and scotch tape, zippers, nails, screws, twist ties, staples, Velcro, shoe laces, clothespins, etc.)
  • A variety of craft materials (eg., paper, scrap fabric, cardboard, etc.)
A small set of a variety of each of these per individual student
For teacher use

 

  • Gather and prepare the fasteners and materials you will need for the craft activity in the action part of the lesson.

Preparation

  • Gather and prepare the fasteners and materials you will need for the craft activity in the action part of the lesson.

Student Prior Knowledge and Skills

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • A variety of fasteners (e.g., buttons, glue, masking and scotch tape, zippers, nails, screws, twist ties, staples, Velcro, shoe laces, clothespins, etc.)
  • A variety of craft materials (eg., paper, scrap fabric, cardboard, etc.)
A small set of a variety of each of these per individual student
For teacher use

 

Materials

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • A variety of fasteners (e.g., buttons, glue, masking and scotch tape, zippers, nails, screws, twist ties, staples, Velcro, shoe laces, clothespins, etc.)
  • A variety of craft materials (eg., paper, scrap fabric, cardboard, etc.)
A small set of a variety of each of these per individual student
For teacher use

 

  • Gather and prepare the fasteners and materials you will need for the craft activity in the action part of the lesson.

Preparation

  • Gather and prepare the fasteners and materials you will need for the craft activity in the action part of the lesson.

Student Prior Knowledge and Skills

 

Teaching and Learning Activities

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Minds-On: Exploring Materials (15-20 min.)

Instructions Teaching Tips

Show students this video that explores different materials and their properties.

After the video, bring students outside to walk around the community, school building or school yard to look at some of the different materials used around them. Encourage students to identify objects and the materials the objects are made from (e.g., bricks made from clay, windows made from glass, sidewalk made of concrete).

Line drawing of a chalkboard with "abc" written on it

Language

Create a word and/or photo wall of terminology that students will encounter over the course of this lesson such as, property, hard, soft, flexible, etc.

Line drawing of an exclamation mark inside of a triangle

Safety

If a walk is not possible, pull up different images on an internet search engine of different objects (eg., chair, door, window, mirrors, etc.) found on school property and encourage students to identify the materials.

 

Action: Which Fastener is Best? (45-50 min.)

Instructions Teaching Tips

Show students the slideshow Which Fastener is Best? [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF].

""
First slide from Which Fastener is Best? Slideshow (©2022 Let’s Talk Science).

 

Line drawing of speech bubbles

Discussions

Refer to the speaker's notes for guided discussion regarding when you use one fastener versus another one.

line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

You could have manipulatives to pass around while you present the slideshow. This would allow students to discover the objects physically as you talked about their purpose.

Co-construct the criteria for this simplified engineering design activity.

As a class, make a decision about what useful object they want to create. The whole class will make the same objects to make acquiring materials and instruction easiest. Some examples of objects that students could make are a lunch bag, or a small carrying pouch.

Recommendation: to successfully complete this small design project while ensuring students understand the role of fasteners, it is suggested that students must use at least two different fasteners to create their object.

Materials for lunch bag challenge/Matériaux utilisés pour une activité de fabrication d’un sac-repas
Materials for lunch bag challenge (©2019 Let's Talk Science).
line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

Show students real examples of the object or photos so that they can see what elements each object requires to be functional (e.g., a purse needs a handle and it needs to open so you can put something inside, etc.).

Line drawing of speech bubbles

Discussions

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.

Student exemplar of small pouch/Petite pochette créée par une élève
Student exemplar of small pouch created using a variety of fasteners (©2019 Let's Talk Science).

Students will determine the materials that are best suited to create the useful object from those that are available to them (e.g., paper and tape, string).

Students will also determine what kind of fastener(s) will be best to use based on the materials they have chosen (paper can be attached together with tape or glue, string can be attached to paper using tape or staples, etc.).

line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

Encourage students to try different options if a fastener does not work.

line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

To further scaffold this activity you could have students make their object using the Design and Build process.

 

Consolidation: Show and Share (15-20 min.)

Instructions Teaching Tips
Assessment opporunties icon

Have students sit in a circle and take turns sharing the object they made. Have them point to the parts of their objects where they used fasteners and encourage them to share why they chose to use the given fasteners.

Ask students to share one thing they learned while doing this activity,

Alternatively or in addition to the Show and Share, have students watch the read aloud version of the book If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen.

Or you could read the book if you have a copy of it available to you.

line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

If students prefer not to share in front of their peers verbally, encourage them to hold their work up or share one-on-one at a later time.

Line drawing of a computer monitor with a play button

Images and Videos

Ask students if they would like to hear/see the video more than once.

 

Background Information for Teachers

Innovations in Fasteners

The VELCRO® brand of hook and loop was invented by a man named George de Mestral in the 1940's while hunting in the Jura mountains in Switzerland.

Tiny burdock burs were sticking to his clothing and his dog with tiny little hooks. Under the microscope he inspected how this worked and was inspired by the design!

Burrs held between finger and thumb
Two burdock seed heads (burs) stuck together (Source: Whiteway via iStockphoto).
Image - Text Version

Shown is a colour photograph of a hand holding two spiky spheres, stuck together.

The hand reaches in from the left edge of the image. The person is grasping one dry, brown, spiky sphere between their thumb and forefinger. Another sphere is fastened to the first. Their spikes are interlocked, so the second one is suspended in mid-air.

Velcro being pulled apart
Two halves of a VELCRO® strip being pulled apart (Source: stocksnapper via iStockphoto).
Image - Text Version

Shown is a colour photograph of two hands pulling pieces of fastened velcro apart.

The hands are reaching in from the top right. The person is grasping one end of each strip between their thumb and forefinger. As the strips are pulled apart, their inside surfaces are visible. The top strip has tiny loops of thin blue plastic. The bottom strip has a thick, fuzzy texture.

The very first zipper was invented in 1851 by Elias Howe. It was very different from the zipper that is used today. Many different prototypes were created after that over time until it was perfected into the zipper that is used today.

Denim jeans with a zipper
Zipper on a pair of jeans (Source: Myriams-Fotos via Pixaby)
Image - Text Version

Shown is a colour photograph of a half open zipper on blue jeans.

The camera is close to the faded blue jeans. The dark gold coloured button at the top of the fly is open. Below, the sides of one end of the zipper are spread apart. The zipper pull is part way down. The reddish gold metal teeth on each side are visible. They are apart above the pull, and fastened together below it.

Buttons were originally used as decoration rather than for joining pieces of fabric. The first object that we would identify today as a button came from around 2000 BCE. It was made of shell. Over time buttons became more and more used as fasteners. It wasn’t until the middle ages (500 to 1500s) that button holes came to be. It was during the first industrial revolution that the mass-produced buttons we are familiar with came on the scene.

Ancient Roman buttons - glass on the left, lead on the right
Ancient Roman buttons. The left is made of glass and the right is made of lead (Source: Daderot [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons).

 

Additional Resources

Reproducibles

Books

If I Built a House
by Chris Van Dusen
Imaginative Jack describes the kind of house he would build- one with a racetrack, a flying room, and a gigantic slide.
Read aloud version here.
ISBN 13 9780803737518

Book cover of If I Built A House
Cover of If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
(Source: Open Library).

Videos

Materials And Their Properties (2020)
Every single object is made of different materials that have observable properties. This video (3:57 min.) sorts and groups materials based on observable properties such as colour, texture, and flexibility.

If I Built a House – Read aloud kids book by Chris Van Dusen (2022)
This video (5:38 min.) is of a read aloud book that follows Jack as his creativity runs wild in imagining his dream house. With rooms such as a robotic kitchen, a gigantic art room, racetrack, and more, the inspiration never ends with Jack!

Reproducibles and Media

Reproducibles

Books

If I Built a House
by Chris Van Dusen
Imaginative Jack describes the kind of house he would build- one with a racetrack, a flying room, and a gigantic slide.
Read aloud version here.
ISBN 13 9780803737518

Book cover of If I Built A House
Cover of If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
(Source: Open Library).

Videos

Materials And Their Properties (2020)
Every single object is made of different materials that have observable properties. This video (3:57 min.) sorts and groups materials based on observable properties such as colour, texture, and flexibility.

If I Built a House – Read aloud kids book by Chris Van Dusen (2022)
This video (5:38 min.) is of a read aloud book that follows Jack as his creativity runs wild in imagining his dream house. With rooms such as a robotic kitchen, a gigantic art room, racetrack, and more, the inspiration never ends with Jack!

Science

  • Students could look up glue recipes and learn how to make their own glue.
  • Students could practice screwing screws and fastening nuts and bolts together.
  • Have your class buddy up with an older class of students so that they could go to a maker’s space to work on hammering nails into wood, etc.

Literacy

  • Students could write stories about the items they create.
  • Students could create labels for the different materials and fasteners on their object.

Mathematical Thinking

  • Students could use standard or non-standard measurements to measure materials needed to construct their item (e.g., material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle).

Extensions

Science

  • Students could look up glue recipes and learn how to make their own glue.
  • Students could practice screwing screws and fastening nuts and bolts together.
  • Have your class buddy up with an older class of students so that they could go to a maker’s space to work on hammering nails into wood, etc.

Literacy

  • Students could write stories about the items they create.
  • Students could create labels for the different materials and fasteners on their object.

Mathematical Thinking

  • Students could use standard or non-standard measurements to measure materials needed to construct their item (e.g., material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle).

Who Invented VELCRO® Brand Fasteners? (2017)
In this video (0:59 min.) you'll find out who invented VELCRO® Brand fasteners and how the invention of hook and loop was inspired by nature and became one of the world's most famous examples of biomimicry.

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.

3C Materials Song
This video (2:25) from TheDanisha2009, contains a catchy song about how to choose the best material for the job at hand.

Learn More

Who Invented VELCRO® Brand Fasteners? (2017)
In this video (0:59 min.) you'll find out who invented VELCRO® Brand fasteners and how the invention of hook and loop was inspired by nature and became one of the world's most famous examples of biomimicry.

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.

3C Materials Song
This video (2:25) from TheDanisha2009, contains a catchy song about how to choose the best material for the job at hand.

King & Allen (2018). The History of the Button.

krystenmlon8 (n.d.). The ZipperTimetoast

Velcro (May 30, 2022). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro

 

References

King & Allen (2018). The History of the Button.

krystenmlon8 (n.d.). The ZipperTimetoast

Velcro (May 30, 2022). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro

 

Reproducibles

Books

If I Built a House
by Chris Van Dusen
Imaginative Jack describes the kind of house he would build- one with a racetrack, a flying room, and a gigantic slide.
Read aloud version here.
ISBN 13 9780803737518

Book cover of If I Built A House
Cover of If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
(Source: Open Library).

Videos

Materials And Their Properties (2020)
Every single object is made of different materials that have observable properties. This video (3:57 min.) sorts and groups materials based on observable properties such as colour, texture, and flexibility.

If I Built a House – Read aloud kids book by Chris Van Dusen (2022)
This video (5:38 min.) is of a read aloud book that follows Jack as his creativity runs wild in imagining his dream house. With rooms such as a robotic kitchen, a gigantic art room, racetrack, and more, the inspiration never ends with Jack!

Reproducibles and Media

Reproducibles

Books

If I Built a House
by Chris Van Dusen
Imaginative Jack describes the kind of house he would build- one with a racetrack, a flying room, and a gigantic slide.
Read aloud version here.
ISBN 13 9780803737518

Book cover of If I Built A House
Cover of If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
(Source: Open Library).

Videos

Materials And Their Properties (2020)
Every single object is made of different materials that have observable properties. This video (3:57 min.) sorts and groups materials based on observable properties such as colour, texture, and flexibility.

If I Built a House – Read aloud kids book by Chris Van Dusen (2022)
This video (5:38 min.) is of a read aloud book that follows Jack as his creativity runs wild in imagining his dream house. With rooms such as a robotic kitchen, a gigantic art room, racetrack, and more, the inspiration never ends with Jack!

Science

  • Students could look up glue recipes and learn how to make their own glue.
  • Students could practice screwing screws and fastening nuts and bolts together.
  • Have your class buddy up with an older class of students so that they could go to a maker’s space to work on hammering nails into wood, etc.

Literacy

  • Students could write stories about the items they create.
  • Students could create labels for the different materials and fasteners on their object.

Mathematical Thinking

  • Students could use standard or non-standard measurements to measure materials needed to construct their item (e.g., material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle).

Extensions

Science

  • Students could look up glue recipes and learn how to make their own glue.
  • Students could practice screwing screws and fastening nuts and bolts together.
  • Have your class buddy up with an older class of students so that they could go to a maker’s space to work on hammering nails into wood, etc.

Literacy

  • Students could write stories about the items they create.
  • Students could create labels for the different materials and fasteners on their object.

Mathematical Thinking

  • Students could use standard or non-standard measurements to measure materials needed to construct their item (e.g., material to cover a box, length of yarn to serve as a handle).

Who Invented VELCRO® Brand Fasteners? (2017)
In this video (0:59 min.) you'll find out who invented VELCRO® Brand fasteners and how the invention of hook and loop was inspired by nature and became one of the world's most famous examples of biomimicry.

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.

3C Materials Song
This video (2:25) from TheDanisha2009, contains a catchy song about how to choose the best material for the job at hand.

Learn More

Who Invented VELCRO® Brand Fasteners? (2017)
In this video (0:59 min.) you'll find out who invented VELCRO® Brand fasteners and how the invention of hook and loop was inspired by nature and became one of the world's most famous examples of biomimicry.

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.

3C Materials Song
This video (2:25) from TheDanisha2009, contains a catchy song about how to choose the best material for the job at hand.

King & Allen (2018). The History of the Button.

krystenmlon8 (n.d.). The ZipperTimetoast

Velcro (May 30, 2022). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro

 

References

King & Allen (2018). The History of the Button.

krystenmlon8 (n.d.). The ZipperTimetoast

Velcro (May 30, 2022). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro