SciGirls Aquabots

Contributor
PBS
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Animation/Movie
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 28 minute movie from PBS depicts middle school aged students working in unison with the U.S. Naval Academy investigating oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay.  Oysters are known to help filter water, but due to a declining population of oysters in the bay the water has not been clean. The goal of the students in this video is to design a ‘Sea Perch’ ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that can drop off and pick up samples to collect data.  Students can then compare the biodiversity of an artificially restored oyster reef to a degraded reef to see if the restored oyster reef is working.  An alternate access to this resource can be found at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tix5sCm4SlY

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 5
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-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

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
While the terms criteria and constraints are not specifically mentioned, the goal is to design a remotely operating vehicle that will help the students collect data near the bottom of the bay. Although students are given a kit with materials to begin building, they are encouraged to modify the given materials to solve the data collection challenge. The teacher should explicitly discuss the criteria and constraints with students.

5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The students in this video are clear on their reason why oysters are needed to protect the bay water (filter the water). Students might need more investigation on the importance of biodiversity in an ecosystem. It is suggested that the teacher encourage discussions around how the oyster population might have become endangered and how engineering ideas help to solve the problem of the declining oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. It is suggested after viewing the video, students brainstorm ways that they can help protect the community and environment where they live.

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 in this video use their remotely controlled vehicle to deploy oysters in two reefs and then retrieved the oysters two weeks later. They then compare and contrast the amount and type of organisms they find in both the restored and degraded areas of the bay giving them a picture of the biodiversity in both ecosystems. The students then created tally charts and bar graphs to help them analyze their findings. It is suggested that classrooms not located near a bay area could study ecosystems around their neighborhood and determine what they might do to support the health of those ecosystems. As students research more about the importance of biodiversity, they could investigate by doing biodiversity tallies on their own school grounds. From building appropriate bat/bird houses, planting native plants or removing invasive species, students can get involved in learning about the biodiversity of their own community.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students spend time at the U.S. Naval Academy designing their Aquabot following the engineering design process. Prior to building, the students design and plan out what elements are needed for data collection in the water taking currents and depth of water under consideration. Students exhibit how the Aquabot performs under various conditions while they modify, improve, and retest their device.

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
Although the video talks about the Oyster Restoration Center and how the population of the oysters has been declining, more research needs to be done to find out how human activities have affected the bay area to fully meet this disciplinary core idea. A possible resource for students to investigate this can be found at: http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/programs-initiatives/virginia/oyster-restoration/?referrer=https://www.google.com/ It may also be suggested that students research how human activity in their own communities has changed the biodiversity of the area in which they live.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
While watching the video, students observe how the designed ROV could be submerged under the water to be able to collect samples. They identified the problem of how to collect samples to compare, and then tested their design. Through their data collection, the students claimed that the restored reef was healthier than the degraded reef because it had more diversity. It is suggested to best meet this crosscutting concept students do more research on how biodiversity, or lack of biodiversity, effects an environment.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The focus of this lesson engages and supports students in making sense of how an engineering design solution can help communities use science ideas to protect Earth’s resources and environment. Although three dimensional learning is observed in the video, class discussions on the crosscutting concepts and practices could help connect the ideas more explicitly. If classrooms are located near a water source and would like to build an ROV to conduct their own investigation, kits are available for purchase from the Office of Naval Research http://www.seaperch.org/order_kit Advanced fifth graders can build the ROV's, but will need adult help with the pipe cutter and soldering iron for safety reasons.

  • Instructional Supports: An interactive game is included with this video that gives all students the opportunity to build their own Aquabot to help get a fallen ring out of the aquarium. Students investigate negative buoyancy and learn how to balance the buoyancy similar to the students in the video. Students can first watch a video that shows how the game is played https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNujX9u7Y-4 and then encourage students to build their own prototype by dragging and dropping the required features and then testing and playing the game. http://pbskids.org/scigirls/games/aqua-bot-html5

  • Monitoring Student Progress: No assessment suggestions are available with this video. Class discussions are suggested where students can pause the video to show elements of the design process at the various stages of planning, building, testing, modifying and improving. It is also suggested to monitor students ideas about the science behind this video. It is encouraged for students to understand "What is biodiversity?", "Why is biodiversity important?"

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: An interactive game is included with this video that gives all students the opportunity to build their own Aquabot to help get a fallen ring out of the aquarium. http://pbskids.org/scigirls/games/aqua-bot-html5