1. Design New NGSS Engineering Lessons - I could go through the K-5 NGSS and create engineering applications for many of them so that students can be active creators of their learning and learning materials. For instance - how can they create "energy conversion" machines for the following standard:
|4-PS3-4.||Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.*|
|K-PS2-1.||Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.|
2. Insulated House Engineering - I am leading an Engineering Week activity for the school in which students will be teamed across the grades to create an insulated "house." Students will be challenged to devise an insulation system using recycled materials, which will be tested using Vernier temp probes, to see which one holds heat the longest. This is an activity that I need to develop more, so I could "make my own" insulated house as an example and model for this upcoming activity.
3. Woodworking - When I interviewed for this STEM Lab position, I advocated strongly for having a component that allowed students to do woodworking in the lab. I did this because often the standard science materials available for construction of engineering projects are not sufficiently sturdy or solid enough to support components of their design ideas. For instance, building large catapults out of duct tape and cardboard is endlessly frustrating for students. I was lucky enough to lead an elective at the St.Johnsbury Middle School on constructing benches and tables out of wood pallets that we got for free. The students really enjoyed this and were proud of their created benches, etc - which were donated to the river classroom. In doing this, however, it was clear to me that they had very little to no experience with basic tools - hammers, saws, nails and other construction elements that were fundamental to our childhood construction explorations - i.e. forts. While it can be tricky teaching woodworking to students, especially young students, because it needs to be safe and yet still accessible, it is immensely important. I could use this project to document my process as I set up the woodworking components of our STEM lab.