EVERETT — A preschool classroom at Lowell Elementary had a special visitor on Thursday: the Big Bad Wolf.
A little girl expressed concern. Teacher Erin Marrow reassured her: “It’s not that scary.”
Then, she pulled out a purple hair dryer with a paper wolf mask attached on top.
The students have been hearing the story of “The Three Little Pigs.” Earlier in the week, they built the pigs’ houses from three materials: straw (drinking straws), ice-pop sticks and LEGO bricks. There also was quite a bit of tape involved.
On Thursday, they tested their creations using the hot breath of the wolf, which came in multiple settings.
The activity was part of an effort to bring hands-on lessons in STEM — science, technology, engineering, mathematics — to every student in the Everett School District. For the youngest children, that means making something and then tinkering with it to solve problems.
Problems such as your straw house getting blown away.
The students tried to figure out which materials and designs would hold up best to the wolf’s huffing and puffing.
“We’re going to test our theories and see if our predictions are right,” Marrow said.
As she worked, the teacher deftly took in stride all the distractions that come with the pre-kindergarten set. Someone found a “treasure box” among the LEGOs. Someone else urgently needed a plastic construction hat. Not to mention the sandbox lid getting stuck.
Jayda Lynd eyed her brick house, asking her teacher, “Do I still have to work on it if I have to?”
“We’ll see if it’s strong enough,” Marrow said.
“This is probably not going to be that strong,” the girl replied.
Rylei Hill quickly figured out the trick wasn’t to make her brick house taller, but wider.
In the next seat over, Rihab Elemam was running out of blocks. Her teacher reminded her that sometimes our friends can help us, if we ask nicely. Rylei was glad to share.
“I’m going to build mine bigger and bigger,” Rihab said, then turning to her house: “No moving.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @rikkiking.