Dear Families, We are starting a unit on Engineering and Science. The origin of this unit comes from both a need of students to engage in some habits of a scientist and engineer, and the very real scientific concepts that both fourth and fifth graders need to learn. This unit of study will be focused on making prototypes, coming up with problem solving strategies, and learning content about the human musculoskeletal system. The major objective of the unit is for students to understand that engineers work through a process of revision and redesign to meet a need or desire. Some of our essential questions for the unit are:
- What are the habits of an engineer/scientist?
- How do you solve problems you are presented with?
- How do parts of a system relate to the function of a whole system?
We began with a pre-assessment which you can see here.
Next we’ll move into a series of experiments that require students to design an initial structure and then re-design it depending on the degree to which they met the stated goal.
Then, we’ll move toward a focus of presenting problems and asking students to model prototypes for how to solve these problems. The second section of our unit will focus specifically on the relationship engineers have to solving problems – specifically within the human body. We will start with the major functions of the skeletal systems and where problems can happen (i.e. broken bones). We’ll have students build structures to support these problems – designing prototypes just like engineers do. As we work through these lessons, inevitably, like an engineer, what we work to do will change with student need and input. We’ll keep you updated with our changes.