Robust Structures

Contributor
Lego Corp.
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Interactive Simulation , Student Guide
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 explore the origin and nature of earthquakes.  They view an introductory video which demonstrates the measurement of earthquake strength, and ways buildings are constructed to lessen impact. Students then enter a create phase in which they build a LEGO earthquake simulator, program it, and test it on their own LEGO building designs. They observe results, modify their designs, then  compare their results with other class teams. In the final share phase, students document their projects, collect data and present their results.  They  reflect  on their conclusions about the connections between earthquake magnitude and building strength.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

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
3-5 ETS1-3 Teacher could assess student prior knowledge by engaging students in a discussion and class sequence chart detailing best practices when performing tests. Discussion questions included in the introduction phase of the resource could be included as part of a teacher-guided discussion. Teacher might eliminate the last few of the 48 slides in the video which detail ways to create the houses. They could diagram a plan for a house design, drawing them in their journals, then designing them. Slides might also be eliminated altogether to enable a more rigorous, student-driven process.

3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

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
3-5ETS1-2 Teacher could begin the discussion by presenting an overview of what natural hazards are, and ways humans can lessen impacts. Teacher could then conduct a guided discussion reviewing earthquakes as natural hazards and discuss possible building solutions to lessen impact. . Students could then view the video, noting earthquake impacts and comparing their ideas for lessening impact with those presented in the video.

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 could use their data as evidence in discussing the different design solutions. They could explain what they think will occur when they test their building’s strength, reviewing concept of magnitude in guided discussion. Changes in loop design, which might create a stronger or weaker earthquake could be documented with data recorded in journals.

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students could discuss ways that their data could be collected and represented before they test their LEGO buildings, expanding on their discussion of the term magnitude, and how it acts as a variable in the simulation. Students could record data for each test in their journals, then reflect on the results.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students could discuss why tests are performed on structures and/or their materials before the structure can be approved for use. A classroom visit from a structural engineer could be included when using this resource. Students could participate in the “Investigate More” section in order for them to design their own buildings. Teacher may need to review base and area in order to guide students in their explanations for which house designs were most structurally sound and

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Teacher might guide discussion to dispel possible student misconception that humans can eliminate effects of natural hazards. Focus would be on impact reduction, not impact elimination. Students could discuss why tests are performed on structures and/or their materials before the structure can be approved for use. A classroom visit from a structural engineer could be included when using this resource. Students could participate in the “Investigate More” section in order for them to design their own buildings. Teacher may need to review base and area in order to guide students in their explanations for which house designs were most structurally sound and

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students could illustrate the “before” “after” designs of their LEGO buildings, comparing their results, including changes in magnitude. They could also observe photos/videos of actual earthquakes in order to compare their designs with real-life earthquake events.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The integration between the DCI and engineering design is prominent in student learning as students use the LEGO interactive software program to design solutions for earthquake-resistant buildings. Students are engaged in simulations that are relevant to real-life situations, and are able to express, clarify, and interpret their ideas in a variety of multimedia representations. The alignment to the PE and DCI could be enhanced by giving students the opportunity to generate questions based on their observations of the video, which would drive sense- making and problem solving. The cross-cutting concept of cause/effect could be emphasized by having students illustrate their “before” “after” designs, focusing on differences in structure observed as magnitude is increased.

  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged in simulations that are relevant to real-life simulations, and are able to express, clarify, and represent their designs. Student prior knowledge is explicitly identified and explained. Guidance for teachers in areas of differentiated instruction is provided on the website, with specific suggestions for discussion of introductory video questions included. A Classroom Management chapter and Curriculum links expand on ways the LEGO simulation can be implemented, as well as provide explanations of the NGSS practices included in the lesson. As mentioned in tips under the DCI section, a class visit with a structural engineer might be arranged to provide a real-life enrichment experience for students.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: An observation rubric grid for each section of the lesson plan is provided as an embedded type of formative assessment. The student worksheet allows students to make predictions about their design solutions, document their results, and modify designs as needed. A student self-assessment is also included to give students the opportunity to reflect on their performance, allowing teachers insight into student learning. Teachers could utilize the observation rubrics grid to direct their future instruction as they monitor individual student progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Students gain an individualized learning experience based on his/her interaction with the earthquake simulator and their building design.