As I usually do, I had my students write the focus question, "How can you use the engineering design process to improve seed dispersal?" in their science notebooks.
Next I showed them a brief video on seed dispersal. I decided to use this video over the FOSS video because it is concise and engaging. As they watched, they had to write down a definition for seed dispersal and 3 ways plants disperse their seeds.
After the video, I presented them with their engineering design problem. Their task was to improve the seed dispersal of a bush bean.
Next, I had each student choose a challenge, make the seed float, glide at least two meters, get propelled at least one meter, attract an animal to eat the seed, or stick to an animal passing by.
Their constraints were that they could only use the materials they would receive in a bag (scissors, glue, construction paper, cotton balls, craft sticks, and rubber bands), and what they found in the environment, and they would only have half an hour. I brought them out to an enclosed drainage basin behind the school.
In this video, you can see that I'm helping them identify a point of weakness in their design so that they can make improvements.
When time was up, I brought everyone in, and gave each group an opportunity to present their creations. For some reason, maybe just a rough day, there were a lot hurt feelings and frustrations, so after each group shared, I had them answer the following questions in their science notebooks:
Some chose to write about group dynamics, and some took it very literally in respect to the lesson, like this Student Notebook Sample.