Unit Overview

Kids engineer a series of barriers and catches to divert snow away from a town during a potential avalanche.

  • Grades 3–5
  • Setting: Out of school
  • Science connection: Natural hazards
  • 8 activities
  • 45 minutes per activity

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Kids engineer a tower and are introduced to the Engineering Design Process as a problem-solving tool.
Kids discuss the definition of technology based on objects they are challenged to engineer.
Kids investigate a major cause of avalanches.
Kids investigate ways to stop falling objects by creating a catch that can stop a series of model boulders.
Kids engineer barriers to direct multiple model boulders rolling down a slope into different catches.
Kids engineer a series of catches and barriers to protect a model village from an avalanche.
Kids improve their avalanche protection systems. They will also be challenged to protect the village against an avalanche with more snow and debris.
Groups present their designs and share how they used the Engineering Design Process to engineer their avalanche protection systems.
A Slippery Slope: Engineering an Avalanche Protection System unit cover

What's Included?

  • Educator Guide (PDF)
  • Engineering Journal (PDF)
  • Context-Setting Audio Messages (.mp3)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources