Engineering Encounters: Engineering Adaptations

Contributor
Anne Gatling and Meredith Houle Vaughn
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This resource highlights that many of the science investigations that teachers are currently using in their classrooms can easily be adapted to engage students in engineering design.  In this article the authors share two examples of how they adapted the science content to incorporate engineering.  Please note, the "moving pigs" activity is the only one developmentally appropriate for kindergartners. 

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
  • Kindergarten
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available by subscription - The right to view and/or download material, often for a set period of time, by way of a financial agreement between rights holders and authorized users.

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The original science activity required students to roll ping pong balls down ramps and use various materials to introduce them to the concept of friction and speed. Rather than build a ramp from point A to point B students will work together to design a safe route for the pigs to escape. Posed with the following design challenge: "There are pigs (Ping-Pong balls or marbles) that have been trapped on a river island due to rising flood waters. Thankfully, there are still a few rocks poking above the water at various points between the pigs and the riverbank, but the rocks are too far for the animals to reach. How can you help the pigs get off the island?" students will build a model that offers the best solution to getting the pigs across the stream. Students will be able to test and compare their models highlighting areas that made each model unique.

K-PS2-2 Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.

Clarification Statement: Examples of problems requiring a solution could include having a marble or other object move a certain distance, follow a particular path, and knock down other objects. Examples of solutions could include tools such as a ramp to increase the speed of the object and a structure that would cause an object such as a marble or ball to turn.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include friction as a mechanism for change in speed.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will plan and design a pathway and then conduct an investigation to push the pigs to safety.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students will analyze information to determine if there are ways the path worked as intended. Students will be able to work collaboratively with peers, make a drawing of their model before building, test their design, and redesign if needed to ensure that their path worked.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students will plan and construct models of a path to carry pigs safely to the other side of the river. Students will record and share observations of models that succeed in safely carrying the pigs.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will plan, design, and build their own model (or in small groups) to save a pig. Students will be able to discuss which models worked and did not work. The teacher can provide sentence starters/frames and encourage students to use invented spelling and illustrations to write a short description of the model that they think carried the pigs to safety the best and why.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will explore the varying amounts of strength needed to push the pig so that it stays on the path and completes the full distance.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will determine the amount of force they need to use to keep the pig on the path. Too hard and the pig falls off the path, too light and the pig may not reach their destination.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson addresses all three dimensions of learning as defined by the NGSS for kindergarten by having students plan, design, and build their own model that will allow them to explore varying amounts of strength as they push a pig to safety.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource provides brief, but clear and concise directions on how to implement this engineering design challenge. There are a few guiding questions to engage students in discourse, and a link is provided with Common Core State Standards Connections. These Common Core connections can be found at the following site: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool/connections/201509EngineeringEncounters.pdf I would suggest that the teacher scaffold how to create illustrations or use science notebooks/journals.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: To monitor student progress the article states the following: "assessment would be based on whether the pig is able to be carried safely across the river as well as the students' ability to highlight their own model's strengths and weaknesses and those of others." Because this is a kindergarten activity, I would suggest the teacher make observations and take anecdotal notes or create a checklist to assess students. Students can also utilize a STEM journal to document what they have learned throughout this design challenge.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The internet resources provided link to three additional lessons that a teacher can use to explore concepts further. Another way to integrate technology is to allow students to take photographs documenting their designs.