Integrated STEM Through Tumblewing Gliders

Contributor
Scott R. Bartholomew
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Article , 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

Students observe and measure a tumblewing glider's motion, conducting a series of investigations to test the effect of changes to the glider's structural features on the flight path and duration of their gliders.  The data collected provides evidence to support their own prototype's design solution and predicted future motion.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-5-ETS1-3 Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will conduct multiple trials to test how the width of the glider, length of the glider, the side fold lengths and the end fold lengths affect the flight of the glider. The material used to construct the glider and the procedure for launching and powering the tumblewing are controlled and stated in the criteria and constraints. To best meet this performance expectation, students could identify, which variables could be tested once an initial prototype is built and tested.

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.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students test the following variables: width of the glider, length of the glider, the side fold lengths and the end fold lengths. Students make observations and measurements of the glider’s motion as they conduct their trials. Students will then analyze the data to make an argument for which combination of glider design will produce the longest flight for their tumblewing glider.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students will work in teams to test the structural features of the glider. They will test one feature at a time, conducting four trials for each feature investigated. To more explicitly align to this practice it is recommended that students collaboratively identify the variables that could be tested based on the performance of the initial prototype, and plan how the data will be collected.

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Once the testing of the glider's structural features are concluded students will make a claim as to which combination of variables will produce the longest flight and supporting their claim with evidence. They will then create and test a prototype based on this claim. To fully meet criteria, the glider must fly 9.1 meters. It is recommended that students then discuss the merits of their design solution, citing collected evidence based from the flight trials.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Investigations of how the measurement of four structural features could affect the flight of the glider will provide data that can improve its performance from that of the original prototype.

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will analyze the flight of their glider as they test the different variables that affect its motion to identify the measurements of each structural feature that will enable the longest flight.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
In their investigations, students will be testing how the measurement of various structural features affects the performance of the glider. To fully align this resource to the crosscutting concept, this relationship needs to be made explicit as students analyze and discuss their data..

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson engages students in performances that integrate the three dimensions of the NGSS. While engagement in the engineering practices is the focus, it requires students to make observations and measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence to support a claim of a prototype’s future motion, which is the disciplinary core idea. It also engages students in the investigation of how the measurement of various structural features affects the performance of the glider, which is the crosscutting concept. To strengthen the alignment of this resource to the dimensions it is recommended that students identify which variables could be tested based on the performance of the initial prototype, and plan how the data will be collected. Cause and effect relationships need to be made more explicit as students analyze and discuss their data. Finally, it is recommended that lessons on balanced and unbalanced forces and the four forces of flight precede this lesson.

  • Instructional Supports: Students will experience firsthand how to conduct investigations in which variables are controlled, then apply what they have learned from these investigations to design a glider that can meet the distance criteria of 9.1 meters. Investigative procedures and processes are accurately applied throughout the investigations. In the engineering phase, students will have multiple opportunities to express, clarify and justify their ideas and respond to feedback. They will also express their ideas in the form of argumentation with evidence. It is recommended that students record their ideas in their science journal, along with pictures of why they did what they did to strengthen their explanations. To strengthen the instructional supports of this resource, A video of confetti flying through the air is suggested as a phenomenon to drive their investigations. While differentiation of instruction is not addressed, the open-ended, collaborative style of the lesson will support most learners.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This lesson elicits direct, observable evidence of three-dimensional learning as they engage firsthand in scientific investigations and its application to the engineering design process. Students can be formatively assessed through observations as they conduct their investigations, through conversations within small group and whole class discussions, and through the recording of their data. It is suggested that the written argumentation along with their responses to the Principles of Flight be completed independently and used to assess students summatively.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is not an interactive, technology-based resource.