Reflection: Modeling Engineering Project: Newspaper Structure - Section 5: Wrap Up


Although I modeled how to roll a tight newspaper rod prior to beginning the planning stage, I found that this was one thing the students had the most difficulty with.  They only had about 60 minutes remaining of the 90 minutes they were given to build their structure.  Most groups spent the first 10 or 15 minutes figuring out how to roll the newspaper rods.  I ended up circulating around to each group and modeling for them again.   I did not leave the group until I saw them roll the rods correctly.  If I were to do this over, I would have provided each student with a piece of newspaper and piece of straw at the beginning when I modeled the first time.  I would have shown them how to do it, then allowed them to try while I circulated to assist.  I think if they had the opportunity to practice with guidance, it would have saved time in the long run.  Each group would also begin the project with 4 rods already started for them from what they rolled during this practice.  

Another thing that I noticed that slowed groups down was not planning properly.  I noticed that when one student in the group could roll good newspaper rods, they took over that roll.  Instead of teaching the other members how to do it, that one student would roll all 25 rods while the other group members just waited on them to be done so they could tape them and cut them.  I explained that even if two members were rolling, and the other two starting to build as they got done, they would get more accomplished.  After the testing this is one thing that we discussed.  None of the groups thought about assigning roles during the planning stage of the project.  They all kind of took on roles as they started building and some students were trying to do the same task, but were doing it differently which slowed things down as well.  I told them before our next project, this is something they need to consider.  

  Things That Caused Delays in Building
  Modeling: Things That Caused Delays in Building
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Engineering Project: Newspaper Structure

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 12 of 16

Objective: SWBAT work through the steps of the Engineering Design Process to build a structure out of newspaper and tape that can support the most weight.

Big Idea: Students work through the scientific process of engineering by researching, planning, building, and testing a structure built of nothing but newspaper and tape that can hold the most weight.

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