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Elementary Science

Design Technology in Grades 3 - 5

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Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

As I think about the K-12 Coneptual Framework in Science, which incorporates and promotes embedding engineering thinking into science, I began wondering about what type of science unit I might teach to grades 3 -5 students and then ask them to solve an engineering problem which applies the science they just learned.

In the K-12 Conceptual framework, by the end of Grade 5, students will understand that energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat or light.

So after I teach this content through many experiences to my students and I want to assess their content. A perfect way would be to see if they could use the content to solve a problem.

I am going to share one that I have done before. Students build a cardboard house and then they are challenged to wire the house so that there is a light in each room.

What do you think? What other content areas might lend themselves to a design challenge?


Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points Engineering is Elementary: Boston Museum of Science’s modules on appropriate engineering activities for grades K-6 students.

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

Pam, thanks for sharing that link. I have experience with this program. A group of 24 teachers learned about this program a few years ago. It is a great program. We arelucky enough to have Iannois ,president of the museum coming to Vermont to be the keynote for our science conference this spring. I am still wondering what might be some manageable design problems for grades 3 -5 without depending on a program because sometimes buying a program is not an option for teachers. Kathy

Laura Jones Laura Jones 9735 Points

There is a wonderfull set of resources on the VA Children's Engineering Site that are based on the design process. And most of the Design Squad activities lend themselves very easily to this structure. Here is a Pitsco link also

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