This resource is for teachers to develop their knowledge around climate science along with NGSS-aligned teaching strategies . Teachers can learn more about the following climate change impacts: coastal hazards, fire, human health, floods & droughts, agriculture and species & ecosystems. Users should reference the "STEM Seminar Slides_Template" as a guide for a daylong training and use the other materials as supplemental information and resources.
This is a highly adaptable outline for how design thinking could be introduced to your learners over a multi-day project. This plan works best if students are divided up into groups of 3-4 for all work except the introduction to each concept at the beginning of class. Learners should stay in the same group for the whole class.
Includes pre-work links, general instructions to guide planning for each day, design thinking student handouts, and multi-grade NGSS standards linked to design thinking.
In this project, students take on the role of an industrial engineer and learn about user-centered product design. They will go through all of the steps of James Dyson’s design process to design a gift that other students would want to buy for one of their adult family members. Students then vote to choose two final designs to move into production and will also create marketing materials for selling the product at school or another appropriate venue.
Children like bugs, and teachers or naturalists can take advantage of this natural curiosity
to sustain students’ interest in science and provide them with an avenue through which
they can explore their world. In this session we will look at how teachers can set up
learning stations to supplement PLT (Project Learning Tree) activities with entomological activities or extensions
and we will work through several key activities that will provide the essential foundation
for a sustained entomological experience. This manual contains entomological activities
and/or extensions for each activity in the PLT pre K–8 activity guide. Each extension is
indexed to the corresponding PLT activity number and name.
The purpose of Design Dilemma is to encourage students to use resourceful and creative behaviors to think like a scientist. Students will demonstrate these behaviors to design and build a suitable structure for a fourth little pig. Although the use of the book The Fourth Little Pig is helpful, the module may be taught without it. This module is meant for all students. The classroom teacher should work with a specialist or special educator to find or develop alternate activities or resources for visually impaired students, where appropriate.
After second grade students learn about Earth's systems and maps, students are challenged with designing a relief map of a community park.
Students discover the scientific basis for the use of inclined planes. Using a spring scale, a bag of rocks and an inclined plane, student groups explore how dragging objects up a slope is easier than lifting them straight up into the air. Also, students are introduced to the scientific method and basic principles of experimentation. To conclude, students imagine and design their own uses for inclined planes.
Students are introduced to the concept of simple tools and how they can make difficult or impossible tasks easier. They begin by investigating the properties of inclined planes and how implementing them can reduce the force necessary to lift objects off the ground.
Being able to recognize a problem and design a potential solution is the first step in the development of new and useful products. In this activity, students create devices to get "that pesky itch in the center of your back." Once the idea is thought through, students produce design schematics (sketches). They are given a variety of everyday materials and recyclables, from which they prototype their back-scratching devices.
Students explore in detail how the Romans built aqueducts using arches—and the geometry involved in doing so. Building on what they learned in the associated lesson about how innovative Roman arches enabled the creation of magnificent structures such as aqueducts, students use trigonometry to complete worksheet problem calculations to determine semicircular arch construction details using trapezoidal-shaped and cube-shaped blocks. Then student groups use hot glue and half-inch wooden cube blocks to build model aqueducts, doing all the calculations to design and build the arches necessary to support a water-carrying channel over a three-foot span. They calculate the slope of the small-sized aqueduct based on what was typical for Roman aqueducts at the time, aiming to construct the ideal slope over a specified distance in order to achieve a water flow that is not spilling over or stagnant. They test their model aqueducts with water and then reflect on their performance.
In this project, students work in pairs to write a short poem that demonstrates understanding of figurative language. They then design, engineer and build a gear mechanism that illustrates the meaning, theme, or concept of their poem. This engineering and language arts project was developed by Allen Distinguished Educator, Scott Swaaley.
Students will explore the different properties of matter as they determine which materials are best suited for certain functions.
Working individually or in pairs, students compete to design, create, test and redesign free-standing, weight-bearing towers using Kapla(TM) wooden blocks. The challenge is to build the tallest tower while meeting the design criteria and minimizing the amount of material used all within a time limit. Students experiment with different geometric shapes used in structural designs and determine how design choices affect the height and strength of structures, becoming comfortable with the concepts of structural members and modeling.
Students gain an understanding of the layers of the Earth by designing and building clay models.
Students learn about civil engineers and work through each step of the engineering design process in two mini-activities that prepare them for a culminating challenge to design and build the tallest straw tower possible, given limited time and resources. First they examine the profiles of the tallest 20 towers in the world. Then in the first mini-activity (one-straw tall tower), student pairs each design a way to keep one straw upright with the least amount of tape and fewest additional straws. In the second mini-activity (no "fishing pole"), the pairs determine the most number of straws possible to construct a vertical straw tower before it bends at 45 degrees—resembling a fishing pole shape. Students learn that the taller a structure, the more tendency it has to topple over. In the culminating challenge (tallest straw tower), student pairs apply what they have learned and follow the steps of the engineering design process to create the tallest possible model tower within time, material and building constraints, mirroring the real-world engineering experience of designing solutions within constraints. Three worksheets are provided, for each of two levels, grades K-2 and grades 3-5. The activity scales up to school-wide, district or regional competition scale.
This unit consists of five lessons covering architecture and structural engineering. Each lesson includes goals, anticipatory set, learner objectives, guided practice, procedure instructions, closing activities, and extensions. Student handouts and worksheets are also included.
Lesson 1: Animal Structures
Lesson 2: Homes
Lesson 3: Stability
Lesson 4: Local Towers & Bridges
Lesson 5: Schools
NGSS: K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3
Materials: blocks or other building toys, ruler, book or ball (for weight), graph paper, pencils, and floor plan of school or hand-drawn approximation featuring highlights.
This unit consists of five lessons encouraging younger learners to engineer increasingly better towers using blocks and recycled materials. Each 30 minute lesson ("phase") includes goals, discussion, activity instructions, extensions, and student worksheets.
Phase 1: Paper Cut-Outs Activity
Phase 2: Building Blocks Activity
Phase 3: Number of Blocks Activity
Phase 4: Building within a Space Activity
Phase 5: Recycled Tower Activity
NGSS: K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3
Common Core ELA: RI.2.1, W.2.6, W.2.8, SL.2.5
Common Core Math: MP.2, MP.4, MP.5, 2.MD.D.10
In this activity, students discuss the notion of time and how time can be measured. They build an hourglass to measure time and test it. This activity will allow students to have a better understanding of time and the instruments that can be used to measure it.