Reflection: Standards Alignment Designing an Eco-friendly Building Part 1 - Section 4: Communicate a Design Problem


Engineers and designers commonly use a document called a Design Brief as a form of communication. The Design Brief outlines the responsibilities of the designer with an eye on the designer/client shared solution to the design problem. The Design Brief typically includes design constraints, budgets, time, and contractual terms. I have used a Design Brief to help students understand how the project is laid out but my success was limited. It was a fill-in-the-blank document that didn't have the rigor I was looking for.

Public school districts across the nation are creating legislation and offering funding to support the Common Core Standards and the PARCC Standardized Test. These national education movements trickle down into the science classroom in many ways. Science teachers have been asked to prove evidence of learning of Common Core Standards. When the integration of the Common Core Standards began, I adjusted the purpose of the Design Brief and began to pull in contemporary articles. I asked students to explain why the design problem is important. With the change, the student writing improved dramatically.

I seek out authentic reading material for my students. I incorporated my Science Literacy: Oil Lesson into the Eco-Friendly Animal Shelter design problem. My idea was to offer the students a reason why it is important to design animal shelters. 

As I self-reflect, I know I can find better. Although the spirit of the oil spill tragedy worked with the design problem, I felt the students were more interested in animals like tigers and other mammals on the endangered species list. My content did not match the spirit of what the students wanted to learn. I'm still working on a way to authentically match every design problem with student-centered science content lessons. I've had lots of successes but I believe my journey may never end. I like it that way. 

  Science Literacy
  Standards Alignment: Science Literacy
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Designing an Eco-friendly Building Part 1

Unit 6: Designing for the Future: Eco Friendly Building
Lesson 1 of 10

Objective: SWBAT explain why designing an eco-friendly home is an important design problem.

Big Idea: Why is eco-friendly important to architects? Looking for an authentic way to teach energy conservation and integrate engineering? This lesson helps students understand why eco-friendly architecture is an important design problem.

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