Swing Set Makeover, Grade 3: STEM Road Map for Elementary School

edited by: Carla C. Johnson, Janet B. Walton, and Erin Peters-Burton

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What if you could challenge your third graders to design a swing set that’s safe but still lots of fun? With this volume in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series, you can!

Swing Set Makeover outlines a journey that will steer your students toward authentic problem solving while grounding them in integrated STEM disciplines. As are the other volumes in the series, this book is designed to meet the growing need to infuse real-world learning into K–12 classrooms.

The book is a four-lesson interdisciplinary module that uses project- and problem-based learning. Students will draw on physics, mathematics, engineering, English language arts, and social studies to do the following:

Compare swing set designs for both safety and fun factors.

Recognize gravity and friction as forces; evaluate the forces that affect both children’s bodies and swing sets on the playground; and spot ways these forces play into design challenges.

Use the engineering design process to create alternative shapes and designs for a swing set.

Collect data using mathematical tools and record data with line plots and bar graphs.

Build models of their proposed designs and write blogs to summarize the improvements that maximize playground fun while minimizing risks.

The STEM Road Map Curriculum Series is anchored in the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the Framework for 21st Century Learning. In-depth and flexible, Patterns and the Plant World can be used as a whole unit or in part to meet the needs of districts, schools, and teachers who are charting a course toward an integrated STEM approach.

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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