LEAP Program: 1st/2nd Grade

1st/2nd Grade LEAP Curriculum

>Each Day

Next Generation Science Standards:1st Grade

Next Generation Science Standadrds: 2nd Grade

Year 1 Plans of a 2 Year Rotating Curriculum.  Year 2 Plans are below

Engineering Design Process                                                                                           

  • Introduce students to the concept of the EDP.  (Ask-Imagine-Plan-Create-Improve)  Students should be able to identify what an engineer is.  (A person who designs and builds things to solve a problem.)  Watch, "Solve Problems! Be an Engineer!" on YouTube. (4 minutes long)  LINK                                                                                                
  • Read the book, "The Most Magnificent Thing" by Ashley Spires.  Discuss. Introduce the project which will be building a 'magnificent' tower with toothpicks and marshmallows.  If there is time, they should begin the PLAN process and sketch out their visions.                                                                                                                                              
  • Students should finish their planning sketches.  They should then begin creating their marshmallow/toothpick towers.  As they are working, ask them if it is going exactly how they planned. Are they making improvements? Changing ideas?  What are they? Why?                                                                                                                                           
  • Students should continue making improvements on their marshmallow towers from the previous day.  The marshmallows should be stale now, so building will be easier. Talk about the significance of this variable.  Continue making improvements.  Present structures, talk about the changes that were made and why.  Observe differences between the different structures. How did some get tall? How did some get sturdy?  Look for different shapes and building techniques in structures.    


  • Introduction to Cubelets. Read 'Robot Rumpus' by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins. Talk about how robots don't have common sense.  Use a dishwasher as an example. A dishwasher is programmed to run water, release soap, go through a dry cycle. It doesn't know what is inside getting washed.  Discuss Think, Sense and Act Cubelets. Build a 'Fraidy Bot' (battery, distance sense and wheels) so that it runs away. Then turn it into a "Friendly Bot'. Ask students what they observed. Ask how it can be turned into a "Spin Bot'. Turn wheels sideways.  Allow students time to build their own.                                                                                                                         
  • Build 3 and 4 block robots. Student groups should each be given a battery, distance sense, rotate, flashlight and drive. Challenge them to make a robot that does something only using 3 of the cubelets. Discuss. They can then create robots that use 4 cubelets. Show creations. Check understanding for the distance sense. If time, introduce the brightness cubelet. Have students figure out what makes it work. (light!) Turn lights on and off to demonstrate how the cubelets react to the light.                                                                                                                           

  • Discuss models. Read (or YouTube read aloud) "What is a Scientist" by Barbara Lehn. Students should understand that drawing models is an important part of being a scientist. Give students the brightness, distance, battery, rotate, flashlight, and drive Cubelets. They should create a cubelet that does something and then draw a model of that cubelet using the correct colors and adding the identifiable features of the different cubelets. Handouts for creating models.                                                                                                                                           

  • Continue project from Day 8. If students have already completed their models, they can create a new one. Once they have all completed at least one, they can switch with each other and try to recreate their peers' models.                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Investigating THINK Cubelets. Need: battery, distance, brightness, rotate, drive, flashlight, inverse, passive             Review Think-Sense-Act  Today we're going to explore think Cubelets. Build a specific robot. Try putting one think cubelet in different places of the robot to see what happens. (Inverse (red) makes the sense do the opposite. Passive (green) doesn't do anything.)                                                                                                                               

  • QR codes centers                                                                                                                                                                                   

  • Students will use critical thinking skills to build a specific robot based on a description. Students need: Battery, brightness, rotate, drive, flashlight, passive and inverse. Warm Up Challenge:  Build a robot that isn't in one long line that IS afraid of your hand.  Challenge:  Build a robot that: Uses all of your Cubelets, drives then stops, then drives then stops without your hand having to wave back and forth in front of it.  If they need it, they can use a sticky note to cover the brightness cubelet. Hints: Has a sense Cubelet that acts as an act cubelet.  Has an act Cubelet that moves a different act cubelet.                                                                                                                                      

  • Introduce alarm Cubelet.  (Annoying!)  Allow students free play with the Cubelets                                                                

  • One more day of free play


  • Intro. To Circuits. Read "Oscar and the Bird: A Book About Electricity" by Geoff Waring. Discuss.  Watch YouTube video: "The Power of Circuits"  LINK (4 minutes and 40 seconds.) Discuss.                                                                              
  • Introduce open and closed circuits. Use simple circuits to talk about the power source (battery), flow of energy, conductors, open and closed circuits. Student pairs should experiment with simple circuits.                                         
  • Conductors and Insulators: Discuss what conductors and insulators are. Pass out baggies of various materials. Students should make predictions on the handout of whether each item listed is a conductor or insulator. They should then test each item using the simple circuits and record their observations.                                                        

  • Makey Makey: Hook up a Makey Makey to the SmartBoard. Explain the different cords with alligator clips and what 'home' is. Show students how to connect it to the computer. Explain that they will do this on their own tomorrow. Show Makey Makey apps. LINK  Explain how people are conductors. Hold hands & let the flow of energy pass through everyone to work the MM.                                                                                                                      

  • Have students bring their Chromebooks. Help students pull up Makey Makey app. Students should connect their own MM and find conductors to play the apps.                                                                                                                     

  • Have Chromebooks ready again. Students should again hook up own Makey Makeys. Introduce 'Catch a Thing' and 'Ladybug Maze' games for students to play.  Optional:  Bring in fruit to show that it's a conductor.                          

  • Start creating Makey Makey guitars. Students should color them and cut them out. Each student gets 4 pieces of conductive tape. Stabilize back with a strip of cardboard. This will take 2-3 Days.                                                         

  • Finish guitars. Have Makey Makey Guitar app pulled up. LINK   Students should hook up their Makey Makeys to the app and play their guitars!  


  • Read "How to Code a Sandcastle" by Josh Funk. Discuss what coding is. Show students an intro video to Hour Of Code.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Students should bring chromebooks and headphones! Introduce "Hour of Code" Have students all entered into the program with their login cards printed out. When they come into the room, log them into www.code.org/join, enter group number, and bookmark the page! Watch the first video together, then go through the first few lessons up on the Smartboard. Explain the different components. Offline Option:  Play 'Robot Turtles' game, Code and Go Mouse, HOC paper activities.                                                                                               

  • Students will work through the "Hour of Code" for the next 4-5 days.                                                                                        

  • In small groups, have students use Ipads to navigate through the Dash coding app, Blockly.  (2 Days)                                   

  • Spend a couple of days letting students create code for the Dash robots.


  • Read "Rosie Revere: Engineer" by Andrea Beaty:  Review the Engineering Design Process (EDP)                                       
  • Make something that does something in the Makerspace!

Bonus Rotation (3 Week Increments)

  • Read "Doll-E 1.0".  Give the students a large popsicle stick with a ping pong ball hot glued to one end.  This is their 'doll' or 'action figure.  They will need to take a couple of days to decorate it however they want.  They will need 2 separate conductive areas.  (aluminum foil!)                                                                                                                      
  • Once dolls are finished, get kids all logged onto Scratch. (heyworthleap) Teach them how to record their own sounds.  (Sounds tab!)  Let the kids record around 6 different sounds that they want their dolls to say.   SAVE project!                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  • Back on the main 'Code' tab, show them:                                                                                                                      *Yellow 'Events' drag out (2) 'When space key is pressed' blocks.  (Change the word 'Space' to 'Left Arrow' and 'Right Arrow'                                                                                                                                                                                        *Then, click purple 'Sound' circle and drag out 2 'Play Sound .... Until Done' blocks and click them to each yellow block.                                                                                                                                                                                     *Finally, click on green 'Operators' circle and drag out 2 'Pick random 1 to 10' blocks and insert them into the purple block. Change the numbers to represent how many sounds were recorded.                  SAVE PROJECT          
  • Hook up the Makey Makey boards to the computer and to a conductive spot on the dolls.  Play the sounds through the dolls!  

Year 2 Plans of 2 Year Rotating Curriculum

Engineering Design Process

Introduce and discuss EDP
  • Good ideas for teaching the EDP at this LINK  Paraphrased Here
  • Read the book, "Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon"  Talk about perseverence and not giving up.  Discuss how Molly did things in a 'different' way, and those ways worked for her. 
  • Video:  Ormie the Pig  Great for teaching determination!
  • EDP Challenge:  Help Buzzy the Hornet!  Link to handout
  • Extension Ideas:  Read a book from the "What Do You Do With a (Tail, Nose, Mouth, Feet, etc.) Like That?" series or the book, "Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look The Way They Do"  


  • PBS Scratch Jr. on Ipads: 'The Wild Kratts' program. LINK  Have students choose an animal and a habitat and code it on the program.  Include audio about each adaptation.  Form Link  Share by casting Ipads to SmartBoard
  • Make a list of all the unique, special, creepy and cool animal adaptations we can think of .  Have the students each choose their favorite 3 adaptations.  Pass out body outline FORM and have students decorate it into their own special 'Creature Suit'.  They need to use materials from the Makerspace for their adaptations. (feathers for wings, botttle caps for underwater breathing devices, construction paper for super speed boots, fabric for camoflauge, etc.)  Their suits should be cut out at glued to a manila folder.  Put a metal fastener in through the folder at each special adaptation that students can later hook up a Makey Makey to.  On Scratch, students should be taught how to record their voices and pull out the code to assign the audio to the up, down and left arrows of the makey makey.  Student should record the information found in this FORM about their creature suit.  Once finished, present by students walking around and interacting with the different suits and Makey Makeys.

Coding and Robotics

  • Spend several days (less than a week) at www.code.org  Have students set up in an appropriate program to work through lessons
  • Once finished with lessons, allow students to work with Dash Robots.  Show them the coding app and let them code the robots.  Laminate large pieces of bulletin board paper and have it divided into squares.  Students can navigate the robots through the different squares.  (One square might be Dash's 'home', an opposite one is the "Beach" and another corner one a 'Surfboard Shop'.  Students may be instructed to code Dash from his home, to the beach, to the surfboard shop, back to the beach, then back home. 
  • Students can also work on creating their own programs on Code.org or coding the Spheros if they seem capable.


  • Create Hexbug cities and mazes using Keva planks, Lego or any other found items.  

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." 

-Benjamin Franklin