Science Talk: Student Voices

“Play is the highest form of research.” -Albert Einstein

As Albert Einstein observed, play is how children learn. When they play, children are exploring how materials work, how they interact with each other and what they are capable of. I have been documenting what students have to say about their work and their learning. Several of their quotes are featured below:

“I noticed the problem with building the dog. The whole dog. I need to rebuild it because the tail needs to be behind the blue curve. So I’m taking The dog apart to fix the problem.”


“We are creating.”

-Ms. Sarah’s class

“First I built the roof but that didn’t work because the house was falling over because it was too heavy. I came up with another idea. I’m building a box first and making that strong and then building the roof.”


“Can we have team work here!?!


“My robot is cool. I first started imagined that I could build it. Then I made the body, the hands, the eyes ears knees wheels, the feet and the arms last. On the chest a put a button for it to come alive. Then I tested it out because it was shaking. It kept falling apart so I fixed it with my friend. Now it’s stable and that’s that.”


“We built a farm and a house with a horse. Tomorrow we are going to come back and add a playhouse for the horse. Engineers build and make changes when they want to.” (About the Tinker Toys created for girl engineers)

-Isabella and Melanie

“We are engineers and we know how to put our ideas to work. We can imagine a picture in our head, like a dream in m mind. Then I plan what I want to do and then I test out if it works. I don’t get upset if it doesn’t work out the first time. I just keep testing until I build it the way I want it.”


“I’m building a tree house that is in the branches. This is all the people sitting around the table and eating. Inside the tree house there is a couch and bedroom. Nothing more.”


“I built a sand timer that is the same as the plastic sand timer.”

-Cristian (while using Unifex building cubes)

“I built a car. It was a challenge. I had help from Ms. Kelsey. We worked together. We had to fix the wheels because the wheels were wobbly at first. We had to figure out how to fix it. I looked at the paper and got some ideas. We tested it out by rolling it on a track, on the rug and on the floor in the hallway. We put some wood blocks in the car to see if the car would move faster or slower with more weight. The heavy blocks slowed it down so we took them out because we wanted to build a fast car. I’m an engineer just like the ones that design and build real race cars. Race cars have to be light to move fast.”

-Jonathan and Ms. Kelsey-Designing and Building a Race Car

“We read the book called Animals Build and I’m building a beaver dam just like the Beavers do. I have to make it stable. I put two square orange toothpicks together to make it strong. I put the little beaver in the dam because I wanted to know if it would break it. Yeah! It works! I can build as good as a beaver.”

-Vanessa S.

“I built a giraffe. It was hard because It had a lot of steps to build it with the cubes.  I’m glad I didn’t give up.”


“I’m building a swimming pool and a person to swim in it. I’m going to draw my idea on this paper first and then get to work. I’m going to use cubes to build everything. You can build people with cubes. Later on I’ll ask my friends for feedback. Right now I want to add details to my drawing.”


“Me and Ryan worked really hard to build this airplane. We worked hard to put the wings on the body of the airplane. We are going to build a run ways for the airplanes to take off. We made a plane like the airplanes at the airport near the school. Ryan is starting the runway. We had to read, follow each step like one, two, three and make sure we did it right. It took us three science classes to finish. Some other kids helped us to build other buildings at the airport. Some parents at our school work at the airport.”

-Ryan and Julian

“I built a bridge taking people to South America. I used triangles and a tooth pick across the top to make it sturdy. It took at least five times to get it right. I had to keep redesigning my bridge. Other kids asked me how did I come up with this idea. I told them that I have a smart brain and my own ideas.”


“I made a pattern structure. I’m going to add something to the top of my structure. I spread the gumdrops out and used the strong, colored and plain tooth picks. Some tooth picks are thicker and have more wood so they’re really strong. I had to test it out so I put a heavy small book on it but it collapsed. So I made some changes after I figured out the problem. My friends at the table gave me some feedback. Then I put the book back on the structure and it didn’t fall. It was hard but it was fun.”


K2 Science Talk

  • “OMG! This idea is so cool.”
  • “Let’s work together and figure it out.”
  • “It’s okay, I can help you.”
  • “I’m thinking so hard that I have ice cream brain freeze.”
  • “My structure measures eight cups tall.”
  • “You destroyed my structure but it’s okay. We can rebuild it together.”
  • “Ms. Alicia can Rosita’s robot build a tower that reaches to the sky or to our library ceiling? I want to try and build one and then test it out.”
  • “Robots make work easier for lazy people.”
  • “I disagree with that because robots help make work easier for all of us.”
  • “We build and program robots so we must be pretty smart kids.”
  • “I wrote my own code and it was big fun!”
  • “That was the best thing ever” 
  • “We are building a house. We are making a door in the front and back. We made a path that goes to the big part of the house. We are building it taller and taller.We are putting some cups up and some cups down. We have to make sure we balance each cup carefully or it will all come crashing down. Sometimes we keep bumping into the house and knocking it down. It’s hard to balance the cups when they’re pointed up. We are sharing the cups. I want to call the structure the Character Structure, says Kevin. The cups can be used as grass too. You can put the double cups on the bottom. We have to make the door wider because we keep knocking over the cups. Don’t put your mouth on it. We should all try and sit down in the castle to see if we can fit. We can’t so we need to make the wall wider. See what I’m talking about,” says Alexandra. “Now we have a bigger space and have more cups to use.” “Oh Kevin,” says Diana. “I’m going to start the path,” says Maria. “But I noticed the walls are crooked. We have to fix that part of the wall. When we finish, let’s test out if it’s really strong.”
  • “We are building together.” 
  • “I’m starting with a square and building a house.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s