The Three Little Pigs

Children's Engineering Activity
(Grades K - 3)


This lesson is based on the Three Little Pigs story. In this activity the students are to imagine that there are no bricks available and that they have to help the third pig by using the Engineering Design Process. They will build a house for the third little pig so that when the wolf comes to visit, he will not huff and puff and blow the house down.


 Students will be able to:

  • Brainstorm several ideas for making a strong house
  • Predict which materials will be best for building
  • Use prior and new knowledge to design the device
  • Compare the suitability of different designs
  • Describe in simple terms what an engineer does


  • Straws
  • Toothpicks
  • Craft sticks
  • Linguini
  • Plastic cups
  • Paper clips
  • Shaving Cream (optional)
  • Small toy pig
  • Hair dryer or fan
  • Tape
  • Toothpicks
  • Marshmallows



  • 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.
  • If they are not familiar with the story, read “The Three Little Pigs” or selected passages to the students.
  • Ask “How could an engineer help the pigs?”


  • What kind of houses did the first two pigs build? What happened to them when the wolf huffed and puffed?
  • What type of house could an engineer design and build that wolf would not be able to blow down?
  • How will we know if it will be able to stand up to the wolf’s huffing and puffing?

Design and Construct

  • Provide constraints:
    • Use only the materials provided.
    • There must be room for the pig to stand inside
    • There must be an entrance
  • Students work in groups to plan their ideas on paper
  • Student teams build their houses

Evaluation of Designs

  • Test each design by using a hair dryer or a fan to simulate the huffing and puffing of the wolf.
  • If time allows, have the students work on improving their designs.


  • Re-assemble children. Ask a few students to describe their designs telling what worked and what didn't work. What would they do differently next time?


Assign each group different materials and compare results. For example, one group will use straws and marshmallows; another group will use craft sticks and paper clips.

Language Arts Activity

There are many versions of The Three Little Pigs. Read two different versions and have the students find similarities and differences.


 Artell, Mike. The Three Little Cajun Pigs . New York: Dial Books, 2006. (The pigs build their houses in the swamp and Claude the Alligator is the villain)

Kellogg, Steven. The Three Little Pigs. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1997 (modern day version with a happy ending)

Marshall, James. The Three Little Pigs. New York : Grosset & Dunlap, 2000 (Classic format of the tale with a few extras)


New Jersey 2009 Core Curriculum Content Standards

Standard 8.2 Technology Education, Engineering, and Design: All students will develop an understanding of the nature and impact of technology, engineering, technological design, and the designed world, as they relate to the individual, global society, and the environment. 

Standard 9.1 21st-CenturyLife and Career Skills: All students will demonstrate the creative, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to function successfully as both global citizens and workers in diverse ethnic and organizational cultures.

National Science Standards

Standard 6.5 Science and Technology: Abilities of technological design



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