Thursday, October 29, 2015

Novel Engineering

After attending "Novel Engineering" and "STEAM Teams" through the Northwestern Office of STEM Education Partnership, I left with new ideas to continue to connect science and engineering concepts through out content areas. As an instructional coach this year, I was able to connect with elementary science teacher Lisa-Beth Lovero on a novel engineering project. Mrs. Lovero teaches a science class to all the elementary classes as a special. She is also the school's Accelerated Learning teacher and was looking for a unique project for her accelerated group. Novel engineering fit the bill! As the students worked through the process, they created video reflections using the format I explain in this blog post.

What is Novel Engineering?
In novel engineering, students take a piece of literature and use the NGSS engineering and design standards to design a solution for a problem a character has in the story. The solution must fit the constraints of the text. This process creates an engaging way students blend literacy skills and engineering practices.

The Process 
1. Pick a book- We choose to introduce the principles with the picture book, "Snowy Day."
2. Identify the Problem- As the students read, they record the problems that arise in the text. In this video, you can see the students jump into action to record the problem as they hear it. In this text, the character puts a snowball in his pocket, only to come back to realize it melted.
3. Research- After the students read the text, they determine one problem for which they will design a solution. The students chose to solve how to keep the snowball cold in the coat pocket. The students then develop questions to research a solution. We used KidRex for safe searching. They need to keep the constraints of the story in mind, so the snowball must fit into the pocket. Mrs. Lovero used a baggie to represent the pocket.

4. Design it- Using their research, the students created a blue print draft of their design. This sketch shows the deep thought of this third grade student complete with materials, design, and process.
3rd grade student's design

5. Make the Prototype- Once they have completed their research and design, it is time to gather materials and create the prototype. The students recorded their trail and errors. This student is explaining what they created.

6. Test it- The students put their solution to the test. In this case, they students weighed the ice prior to the test, then drained the water and weighted it again after waiting 15 minutes.

7. Make it better- To follow the engineer and design standards, after test one, the students redesign and test again.

8. Present Solution-As a class, each group shares what they did and their final results. They each uploaded their videos to a media album in Schoology. Here all the students could view the process of each group in the class and comment on each others solutions. This collaboration brought the project up to Modification on the SAMR ladder.

Once the students discussed their solutions, they were prepped for the next project. In the next phase, the students will use a text at their reading level to design a solution for a problem of one of the characters.

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