Reflection: Flexibility If Only We Could - Section 2: Introducing the Concepts of Shape and Durability


AHHH! The lead of only one pencil broke and we were working in the dark because of a power outage. Do I panic because this isn't working and because it is barely light enough in the room to see the pencils anyway? I considered the idea, but instead I said to the students, "Well we know that one of the pencils, the mechanical pencil isn't as strong as the others, but the other 3 all seem to be equally strong. Can you think of another way to test the strength of the pencils?" ONe student suggested seeing how sharp they were and another suggest trying to break the tips with our fingers. Students voted to try to break it first. We gave 3 people a chance to break the pencils and nothing broke. We passed the pencils and tried again. Still nothing. I never knew pencils could be so strong when during class they break all the time. 

We decided to pass the pencils around and see which one was still sharp because the sharpest pencil, they reasoned, must be the strongest. I thought that sounded sensible so we passed the pencils and decided which one was the strongest.

It was a great moment to teach about how scientists don't always find out what they want on their first try. Sometimes they need to design new experiments to answer their question. We tried 3 different designs before we found one that helped us decide which pencil was the strongest, the next strongest (the next sharpest), the next strongest, and the weakest (the mechanical pencil).

  A New Direction
  Flexibility: A New Direction
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If Only We Could

Unit 2: Engineers are Scientists Too
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: SWBAT use the shape of an imaginary tool to solve the pollution problem another way.

Big Idea: Sometimes imagination can take us outside the realm of reality, to a world of unlimited possibility

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1 teacher likes this lesson
Science, reasoning, creativity
  60 minutes
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