Engineering and Design

All lessons and activities inherently feature Engineering and Design standards.

The pedagogy behind Strawbees is closely based on MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Creative Learning Spiral is an iterative process of Imagine, Create, Play, Share, Reflect, Imagine by Mitch Resnick. This Creative Learning Spiral incorporates all the Next Generation Engineering and Design Science Standards into its very process. With lesson resources, learners will be asking questions about real world problems, then build, testing these ideas, and playing with their design constraints and limitations. Within a single activity, they will generate multiple solutions, plan and carry out tests.

[1] Kindergarten learning approach for student projects to iterate through the Creative Learning Spiral coined by Mitch Resnick of Lifelong Kindergarten.

A closer look at the Earthquake Simulator lesson perfectly illustrates how all Strawbees lessons and activities incorporate the NGSS Engineering and Design standards. Students make observations about earthquakes, generate and ask questions about this real natural hazard, simulate an earthquake by coding a servo motor, and finally test their design by building a shake table.  Students have the opportunity to play with the design constraints, change the code, and create different iterations of the same invention. They can further extend their project through challenges and changing the design based upon their own ideas. Thus, Strawbees lessons empower the learner to take charge of their own learning and explore real world topics and make their own prototypes.

The shake table can be used as a way to simulate the movements of the ground during an earthquake with a building to see how it affects communities.

Students draw conclusions in engineering designs through conducting tests. The waves with the largest amplitude causes the most destruction with the highest speed as the biggest.

Strawbees works with all Engineering and Design standards for:

Forces, Energy & Motion

Strawbees activities and lessons also feature prominently the NGSS topics of forces, energy and motion, and earth’s systems, and human impact.  The Roller Coaster Run lesson is a thrilling take on the force of gravity, for example, a fifth grade standard. However, it also dives deeply into the disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts within the fourth grade standard that energy can be transferred.

The Roller Coaster Run lesson allows students to experiment with the different heights of the bases to see which heights cause the ball to roll the fastest.

By expanding the sliding beams slightly, the ball will roll slower. While the path will be clear, the conversion of potential to kinetic energy will not be enough for motion.

Assessment

Hands-on learning is at the very core of Strawbees. As in the universal design for learning, engaging hands-on learners with exciting content and curriculum benefits everyone.  Students do not need to just read about science concepts, they need to put them to practice.  When students create and build with their hands, not only do classrooms become centers of 100% student engagement, but assessment is built into student projects, how they are able to tinker, adjust, and ultimately  make designs work.  Further, after completing the design process, students share their projects, their reasoning, and are able to give evidence to why their designs work or do not work.  Assessment that is grounded in real-world relevant learning experiences will lead to evidence-based responses.  Such kinds of assessments are better preparation for careers than a multiple choice test, and induce excitement rather than the anxiety when it comes to assessment.

References and Credits

Media Credits

[1] By Mitch Resnik, MIT Lifelong Kindergarten

External Resources