How Does Your Garden Grow?

Children's Engineering Activity
(Grades P - 2)


This lesson is based on the book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming. In the book, the bunnies keep getting into Mr. McGreely's vegetable garden and eating his vegetables. Using the Engineering Design Process, children will design and build something to prevent the bunnies from getting into the vegetable garden.


 Students will be able to:

  • Brainstorm several ideas for keeping the bunnies out of the garden
  • Predict which materials will make the best device
  • Use prior and new knowledge to design the device
  • Compare the suitability of different designs
  • Describe in simple terms what an engineer does


 One hour for introduction to what engineers do; reading of story; designing, building and testing solution.


  • Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors, glue, tape
  • Crayons, markers
  • Playdough
  • Index cards, cardboard
  • Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors
  • Yarn, string
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws
  • Plastic wrap, foil
  • Small vegetable gardens – paper plates with lettuce and carrots
  • Pop-up bunnies
    Note: Pop-ups available at



  • Ask children what they want to be when they grow up. Ask if anyone wants to be an engineer. Ask if anyone knows what an engineer does. Explain that engineers design things to help people. And they figure out how to solve problems.
  • Read first half of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! to children. Introduce the problem: The bunnies keep getting into Mr. McGreely's vegetable garden and eating his vegetables.


  • How could Mr. McGreely's problem be solved?
  • What type of device could an engineer design and build that would help keep the bunnies out of the garden?
  • If the device keeps the bunnies out, is there anything that should still be able to get in the garden? (sunlight, rain, Mr. McGreely)
  • How will you know if it works?

Design and Construct

  • Provide constraints:
    • Work in groups of 2-3 (engineers usually work in teams)
    • Use only the materials provided
    • Design and build something to prevent the bunnies (a pop-up bunny) from getting into the vegetable garden
  • Students work in groups to plan their ideas
  • Student teams build their devices

Evaluation of Designs

  • Test each design by releasing a plastic “pop-up” bunny near the garden to see if the device prevents the bunny from getting in
  • The garden must still be exposed to sun and rain
  • If time allows have the students work on improving their designs


  • Re-assemble children and, if time allows, ask a few students to describe their solutions – what worked and what didn't work. What would they do differently next time?
  • Finish reading Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! to children to see how/if Mr. McGreely solved the problem.


Photo Examples


Curriculum Standards

Next Generation Science Standards: K-2 Engineering Design

ETS1-1 Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

National Science Standards

Standard 6.5 Science and Technology: Abilities of technological design

NJ Preschool Teaching & Learning Expectations: Standards of Quality


•  Expectation 2: Children develop knowledge of spatial concepts, e.g., shapes and measurement.

•  Expectation 5: Children use mathematical knowledge to represent, communicate and solve problems in their environment.


•  Expectation 1: Children develop inquiry skills, including problem solving and decision-making.


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Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) All Rights Reserved.