First grade teacher, Ms. Katie Beaver, and elementary science teacher, Ms. Emily collaborated on a huge ecosystem unit that covered deciduous forests, rainforests, and coral reefs. In addition to covering an entire wall with trees to represent deciduous trees found in each season, students also were given a STEM activity where they created bear caves for the bears to hibernate in using nothing but marshmallows and toothpicks to engineer their designs.
Each student was given 10 marshmallows and 15 toothpicks. The students were instructed to use these materials to build a bear cave (shelter). The shelter needed to fit a paper bear that was about 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.
Additionally, students delved further into their studies by designing and constructing underground burrows by connecting small paper bags to model beneath the ground shelters of animals in the deciduous forest.