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# Reesha Grosso Penn Alexander School Fifth Grade Lesson Date: 11/21/13 Integrated Term III Assignment: Science

What This lesson will be the first in a three-part mini-unit on geometry and structure. The

overall goal of the lesson is for students to build on their geometric knowledge and explore some basic concepts of engineering including strength, stability, and symmetry. Students will analyze images of architecture and identify geometric shapes visible in their construction. We will build and examine three-dimensional models of these shapes and discuss potential strengths and weaknesses inherent within them. Using this information, students will construct the tallest structure possible using the marshmallows and toothpicks. This lesson will incorporate the content goal of employing geometric concepts in construction of a stable structure, and of using new vocabulary to defend their strategies. Process goals include planning with a classmate and model building as a means of problem solving. Some of the skills they will be acquiring include the ability to analyze 2D images to make inferences about 3D objects, to apply these inferences to solving problems, to develop strategies to remedy issues during building, and to effectively communicate their ideas and thought processes. These students have basic understanding of geometric shapes and have done some modeling work with them in the recent past. Penn Alexander uses the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space math curriculum in their K-5 classrooms. The aptly named curriculum encourages students to use reason while exploring numbers and concepts, and cultivates an approach to learning that is based in making sense of mathematics. They have just finished a unit on the topic of 3D geometry and measurement where they used manipulatives to discover ways

Reesha Grosso to determine the volume of objects. In 4th grade they compared angles, and later this year they will begin measuring angles. This has laid a foundation upon which to build concepts of form, but having little experience with physics and the concept of force may make it difficult for students to comprehend of the inherent strength in the shape of a triangle or square. However, they can discover this strength through experimentation, and an analysis of symmetry will help lay groundwork for further exploration of the structure and angles in 3D shapes.

How For this lesson I will be working with a small group of fifth graders. During the experimentation portion of the lesson, students will be divided into two groups, one working with a base of triangles and one with squares. No matter their team affiliation in this aspect of the lesson, there will be opportunities for cooperative learning as students come together to share questions and ideas before and after the experiment. Throughout the lesson there will also be designated time for think-pair-share so that all students have the time to develop and communicate their own concepts of how to best approach the problem posed. Through inquirybased learning, students will explore the problem of how to build the tallest structure possible out of toothpicks and marshmallows. This problem will be approached both through looking at examples of architecture and inferring based on prior knowledge of shape and symmetry and by using concrete materials to construct models and test nascent claims. Discussion will be used to allow students the benefit of learning from one anothers thought process and results, and importantly, to push students to explore their own conceptions of science by offering evidence that supports their claims.

Reesha Grosso Why The Four Strands of Science Learning in Ready, Set, Science! stress the importance of learning through the generation of scientific evidence and by reflecting upon ones scientific knowledge (Michaels, Shouse, & Schweingruber, 2008, p. 28). To provide this kind of learning

experience, I have devised a plan in which students will learn both through hands-on exploration (building the structures) and through discussion of the outcomes of their experiments. The discussion will require them to support their design decisions, which will require them to reflect upon their thinking and to use pertinent vocabulary and concepts that have been introduced earlier in the lesson. To make the process more salient, Michaels et al. explain that a lesson should be built around a scientifically meaningful problem (p. 127). For this reason, I have chosen to have students explore what gives structures their strength and stability. Beyond its importance in engineering and design, this topic is relevant as it is particularly visible to the life of a city-dwelling student. Important questions will arise before the experiment when we consider what gives tall structures the support that they need to attain great heights. Students will make claims and test them through experimentation. Finally, Michaels, et al. encourage that students speak about their experimentation process, defending their decisions and making conjectures using inductive reasoning (p. 88). This conversation will inspire new questions that will arise through analysis of the various outcomes of their experiments as students refine their understanding of structure and stability. This lesson will support future learning in geometry by giving the characteristics of threedimensional forms a more concrete meaning. Examining the symmetry of an equilateral triangle will help to explain why it is so stable- the three angles and the three sides as well as the distance from any one vertex to the next are always the same and cannot be shifted. Comparing this to a

Reesha Grosso model of a square, which also has equal sides and angles but has varying distances between vertices and can be shifted into a less stable rhombus, will reveal that there is something about the lack of symmetry between vertices that must be the cause of the instability. This provides a jumping off point for future exploration of force and the physics involved in engineering.

Lesson Plan

Goals / Objectives Students will analyze the geometry, symmetry, and structure of buildings and use information gleaned to design the tallest, most stable tower possible. Students will be able to form a claim about the cause of the stability of architecture. Students will be able to explain and defend design decisions and structural issues using examples from architecture analyzed and experimental outcomes. Students will be able to refine their design using data from class experiments.

Standards and Assessment Anchors Next Generation Science Standards 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved. Framework for K-12 Science Education Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions, provide evidence to support design solutions. Core Ideas: ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions: communicating with peers about proposed solutions, shared ideas can lead to improved designs. ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution: testing various design solutions to determine which best solves the problem.

Reesha Grosso

Crosscutting Concepts: Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society: Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase their benefits, decrease known risks, and meet societal demands. In this case, creating stability decreases risks, and building for stability, height, and economic material usage meets societal demands. Common Core State Standards S5.A.1.1.1: Explain how certain questions can be answered through scientific inquiry and/or technological design. S5.A.1.1.2: Explain how observations and/or experimental results are used to support inferences and claims about an investigation or relationship. S5.A.1.1.3: Describe how explanations, predictions, and models are developed using evidence.

Materials and preparation Miniature marshmallows, 2 bags Toothpicks, box of 500 Measuring tape or yardsticks Grid paper Lined paper Pencils Large notepad Images of architecture

Classroom arrangement and management issues The lesson will occur in a small multipurpose room reserved at Penn Alexander. The room is large enough for a small group to fit comfortably but small and bare enough that there are few distractions. The front of the room will have a large notepad or whiteboard for the instructor to list class notes. The center of the room has one long table with chairs for students. This will enable ease of dividing up for individual reflection, pairing, or making small groups. Students can easily move around to the other side of the table so that they can all reach the building materials. These materials will be stacked and in bins at the front of the room and will be placed on desks between students when necessary for easy access. There will be more provided than are necessary to complete the challenge, and equal quantities will be given to each group.

Reesha Grosso Students will be informed of expectations, both behavioral and procedural, at the start of the lesson. I will briefly explain the agenda and have it posted in the room. Students will be required to communicate respectfully with one another and to raise their hands before speaking during whole-group discussion. There will be several transitions between stages of the lesson, and expectations will be reiterated at each juncture. There will be times when the students are sharing with one another and working in a small group, and during this time there is a risk of getting off track and an expectation of self-regulation. If students are not able to self-regulate, they will be offered the option of working on the project silently and independently.

Plan 1. The Hook (10 min) Students will each choose an image of one of the tallest buildings in the world and will analyze the design, noting any geometric shapes they see in the form. Share with class. Each student makes a square and a triangle from toothpicks and marshmallows to manipulate. How are these shapes different from one other as far as symmetry? Students turn and talk to the person next to them, then share with the group. Students combine shapes with their partner to construct prisms. What would happen if a force, like wind or weight, pushed against this shape from any side? Turn and talk with the student next to them about their theories. Why do you think this shape makes a stable building? Share with the group.

2. The Body (20 min) Students will be divided into two groups: triangles and squares. Roles: one student is the builder (put the pieces together) and the other the foreman (keeps track of height and counts how many toothpicks and marshmallows are used), though students are encouraged to design and troubleshoot together. Students should make the tallest tower they can build with as few materials as possible. Students are directed to draw plans and work with manipulatives before building. Each group is given toothpicks and marshmallows. They will build until one falls over.

## Reesha Grosso 3. Closure (15 min)

Tally up how many toothpicks and marshmallows at the highest height. Write: Why did you make the decisions that you did in your planning process? How did you modify your ideas as you went along? Have the foreman draw their tower and the builder deliver its stats, whichever student has been less involved describe the planning process. What are the main differences between these two buildings? So why do you think this building was able to remain stable at a higher height? Write: How would you build this differently if we did it again?

Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above Communicating with one another and making sketches will tell me how engaged they are in the planning process and how much they are using prior knowledge and the things we talked about in the Hook to inform their decisions. Listening to how the students communicate with one another during the building process will help me to understand what they are getting out of the experience and which aspects of engineering and design they find the most salient. Writing about how they would do it differently will tell me what students learned from individual and group analysis of outcomes.

Anticipating students responses and your possible responses Based on how interested students are in superlatives (such as the Guinness Book of World Records), I expect that looking at the worlds largest buildings will be of interest to them, and if it isnt enough to get their interest, the prospect of building something with marshmallows will be. Students may not have much of a concept of force in physical structures to draw from, but most have built towers of blocks at some point in their lives. As a prophylaxis, I will move around the room to ensure that students sketches are progressing and that they are planning before the building begins. I will be available for questions and guidance. Accommodations There may be students who need adaptations, and I will be able to discover this as they get stuck at various points as the project progresses. I can provide additional support as far as answering questions and giving them suggestions, but the most important support will be that of their building group. The role of the counter in the group is the least complex and can be assigned to any student who seems to be having difficulty grasping concepts early in the lesson. If students finish writing early, I will ask them to write more. If they have nothing more to say, I will have them revisit their structure or the other groups structure and ask them to explore it and then write more. If they are still finished I will ask them to write down questions that they have about engineering tall buildings or to generate a list of environmental issues tall buildings face.

Reesha Grosso If students finish building early (their structure falls over), I will either have them try again (depending on where the other group is in the process) or have them move on to assessment and writing. If all students finish all steps early, I will have them try out their ideas for what they would improve by building another structure.

Bibliography Michaels, S., Shouse, A. W., & Schweingruber, H. A. (2008). Ready, set, science! Putting research to work in K-8 science classrooms. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. National Research Council. (2012). A Framework for K-12 science education: practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.