Materials Science: Form and Function
Students research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. They expand their understanding of properties of matter as they consider the form and function involved in seed dispersal and pollination. Students are introduced to the design problem when Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi are tasked with starting a wildflower garden on an expansive plot outside of their school. To solve the design problem, students apply their knowledge and skills to design, build, test, and reflect on a device that mimics a way in which animals disperse seeds or pollinate plants.
Materials Science: Properties of Matter
Students investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties, including color and texture. They learn about states of matter and properties of materials including insulators and conductors. In the design problem, Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi, are challenged to keep ice pops cold during a soccer game – without a cooler. Students apply their knowledge and skills to determine the best material to solve this design problem and then evaluate how their designs might be improved.
The Changing Earth
Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing. They are introduced to different types of maps and explore how these maps convey different information about the world in which we live, including where water is found on Earth. Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi introduce the design problem when faced with the challenge of helping a community threatened by a potential landslide. Students investigate the different forces that shape the surface of the Earth and design solutions to limit the impact of erosion on this fictional community, which is located at the bottom of a hill that was recently destabilized by a fire.
Grids and Games
Students investigate numerical relationships while learning about the sequence and structure required in computer programs. Starting with computer-free activities and moving to tablet-based challenges, students apply addition and subtraction strategies to make characters move on a grid. Angelina presents the design problem when she expresses her desire to design a game she can play on her tablet. Using skills and knowledge gained from these activities, students work together in groups to design and develop a game in which a player interacts with objects on a tablet screen.
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