All resources in PA STEM Toolkit Workgroup - Sandbox

Mission to Mars

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The Mission to Mars curricular unit introduces students to Mars the Red Planet. Students discover why scientists are so interested in studying this mysterious planet. Many interesting facts about Mars are revealed, and the history of Martian exploration is reviewed. Students will learn about the development of robotics and how robots are beneficial to science, society and the exploration of space. Details on engineers' involvement in space exploration are presented. Furthermore, students will learn how orbits allow astronauts to move from planet to planet and what type of equipment is used by scientists and engineers to safely explore space. Lastly, the specific details on and human risks for a possible future manned mission to Mars (and back to Earth again!) are discussed.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Design Thinking for Gift Giving

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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.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Sustainable Development 1: An Introduction

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This video looks at the meaning of sustainable development and why the current best practices prescribe participatory methods. It also presents a visual model for sustainable development that is closer to the physical reality than the "triple bottom line" model of environmental, equity, and economic goals. This video is part of the Sustainability Learning Suites, made possible in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. See 'Learn more about this resource' for Learning Objectives and Activities.

Material Type: Lecture Notes

Author: Linda Vanasupa

MAKEShift Poetry

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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.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Classroom Cases: Simple Machines

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Science Content Storyline: Simple MachinesBriefly write the content story for the topic: PS2.A Forces and Motion Disciplinary Core Ideas: Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object’s speed or direction of motion. (3-PS2-1). The patterns of an object’s motion in various situations can be observed and measured; when that past motion exhibits a regular pattern, future motion can be predicted from it.(3-PS2-2)Educational StandardsNGSS: 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. [Clarification Statement: Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size,or direction of forces. The assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.]3-PS2-2. Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. [Clarification Statement: Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.]Summary: Machines make work easier. Levers, inclined planes, and pulleys are simple machines that help us to do work. Work is moving something across a distance using force. Force is a push or a pull. Machines help us to do work by reducing the force needed or changing the direction of the force. There is a trade-off between the amount of effort and distance. (You can’t something for nothing!) 

Material Type: Full Course

Mapping Earthquakes to Save the World

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In the Mapping Earthquakes to Save the World activity, students leverage real-time data to plot earthquakes on a world map. The fate of the world is in their hands – the President of the United States has asked for their help to save humankind. Students identify patterns in their data and connect earthquakes with tectonic plates, making recommendations back to the President about where people are safe and where people are most at risk. This activity was heavily inspired by a project from the Stevens Institute for Technology Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.

Material Type: Lesson

Author: Eli Sheldon

3.MD Finding the Area of Polygons

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This is a task from the Illustrative Mathematics website that is one part of a complete illustration of the standard to which it is aligned. Each task has at least one solution and some commentary that addresses important asects of the task and its potential use. Here are the first few lines of the commentary for this task: Find the area of each colored figure. Each grid square is 1 inch long....

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Illustrative Mathematics

PenPal Schools: Mystery PenPal

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Mystery PenPal is a fun and easy way for students to build a community and get to know one another. Weather preparing for a PenPal exchange or developing classroom community, this fun and interactive class activity is appropriate for students of all grades! In this class activity, students will learn: 1. The importance of asking questions 2. How asking questions can help get to know someone 3. How to complete a PenPal Schools student profile Students will achieve the following outcomes: - Students will ask questions and provide quality answers - Students will enjoy learning about their classmates - Students will understand how to participate in digital communities Standards Alignment: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2

Material Type: Interactive, Lesson Plan

Dream It, Build It, Launch It!

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This Super Lesson utilizes Project Based Learning to assist learners with designing, building, and testing flying contraptions as an introduction to Engineering. The goal of this project is to engage students in collaborative team work and to introduce students to the Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, and Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. We have offered this Super Lesson as an 8-week elective course, developing and strengthening student interest in applied Math and Science topics. It could also be offered within upper elementary or middle school Science and Math courses. In addition, each week’s topic could be used as a stand alone mini-lesson if time is limited. We have worked to include multiple options within this unit to make it accessible to both general education and special education programs, including recommendations for modifications and extensions.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study

Making Our School Safe & Accessible

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In this problem-based learning module, students will work collaboratively to improve the accessibility or safety of their school or community. For example, students could identify that accessibility ramps need to be added to the school property or additional sidewalks need to be created/repaired to increase the safety of students as they walk to school. Students would work together to create models of these improvements and create a communications plan that informs the stakeholders of the materials needed to create these improvements (i.e. using volume to determine the amount of concrete, using angles to determine measurements for ramps, etc..).

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Blended Learning Teacher Practice Network

What Route is Best for ME to Buy a Vehicle?

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     This problem-based learning module is designed to link a student’s real-life problem to learning targets in the subjects of math, social studies and language arts.  The problem being, what route is best for me to buy a vehicle?  The students will prepare, research and present findings about their own personal finances relating to buying a vehicle.  The students will create two equations based on two purchasing plans they will be comparing.  At the conclusion, students will be able to decide which plan is best for them based on research and mathematical practices.  Students will present to their peers, teachers, administrators, and most importantly their parents in an attempt to convince them of their chosen plan.    This blended module includes teacher led instruction, student led rotations, community stakeholder collaboration and technology integration.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Blended Learning Teacher Practice Network

Remix

Digital Footprint

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Why is it important that students be careful what is posted for everyone to see? Students will investigate and discuss these questions during this module that directly relate to their daily life. Students will work cooperatively in groups to design an infomercial to be presented to elementary students and/or parents and community members. Key Learning Targets: I can use technology to produce and publish my work, and link to sources.I can include multimedia projects or visual displays when they will be helpful in clarifying and emphasizing information.I can actively participate and contribute to a discussion with my teacher and my peers. I can present my findings to a group or audience in a clear and concise way.I can create a storyboard to prepare a public service announcement. I can compare contrast trends of technology. I can write an explanatory paragraph to examine a topic (present and future digital footprint).

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Jody Bauer

Solar Cookers

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In this project students will research and then build a basic solar cooker shell made out of cardboard. Then they will run a variety of materials through experiments. Data from the experiments will be used to determine which materials should be added to the solar cooker shell to improve its ability to heat up food. This project was created as a collaboration between a science and an engineering/woodshop class. The engineering class researched and build the basic solar cooker cardboard shells. The science class tested additional materials to add to the shells to improve the solar cookers. Then the engineering class, following the directions from reports created by the science class, added the materials to the solar cooker shells to create the final products.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Reading, Unit of Study

Math, Grade 6, Ratios, Student Project

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Students choose a project idea and a partner or group. They write a proposal for the project.Key ConceptsProjects engage students in the applications of mathematics. It is important for students to apply mathematical ways of thinking to solve rich problems. Students are more motivated to understand mathematical concepts if they are engaged in solving a problem of their own choosing. In this lesson, students are challenged to identify an interesting mathematical problem and to choose a partner or a group to work with collaboratively in order to solve that problem. Students gain valuable skills in problem solving, reasoning, and communicating mathematical ideas with others.Goals and Learning ObjectivesIdentify a project ideaIdentify a partner or group to work with collaboratively on a math project

Material Type: Lesson Plan