This lesson assumes that the students have comprehensive knowledge on each of systems and have suggested an area of redesign for each. For this lesson to work effectively, you will need to have their previous suggestions on hand, organized by body system.
The students will follow the engineering design process as they attempt to answer the question, “How would scientists go about redesigning the human creature in order to get the most efficiency out of him?". Today they will define the problem and brainstorm possible solutions.
Before the lesson, I go over the XP that the students have accumulated (which tell me if they have finished their blog posts and suggested redesign areas of redesign) and thus will be participating in the Human Body 2.0 project. The XP acquisition and requirements for accessing the project were discussed with the students in the 8-Systems blog lesson. The purpose of the model is to keep students accountable.
Students who have not completed their posts and suggestions still have to complete the blog posts. Once they are done, they instead go to the "ABC" Project, and follow the directions and requirements to design a board game. The board game is an alternate assignment devised for students that for whatever reason might not have completed the blogs and suggested areas of redesign, and gives a different way to demonstrate their knowledge. It's use and management is discussed in the reflection "Why Include a Dessert Project?"
Students have been working at gathering information and suggesting different areas of the human body that can be redesigned. In order to engage them once again in the full scope of the project, I present the trailer for the X-Men, and tell them, "This is your chance to design a "better" human being!"
As the trailer is playing, I write down the 8 body systems they have studied on the board. Once the trailer is done, I tell the students to take a moment to think which of the body systems would each of them want to tackle, and that once they are ready, to come up and write their name under it. This does not mean that they will be working with the people who write their names under the same body system since there might be some that do not have access to the team project.
Once the students have written their names under a body system, I ask students with same interests to move seats so they are seated with students that share their area of interest. I then provide students with the respective suggested areas of redesign sheets and tell them to go over each one, sorting them according to "areas of improvement" (Efficiency, Communication, Location, Performance, Other). This first sort helps students identify what the class believes to be the area that is most problematic in a particular system (SP1: Asking Questions and Defining Problems).
After table groups identify a problem area, I ask them to go over the ideas again, now looking at the specific suggestions made by the class to solve the problem. They may add to or refine what was already suggested, and develop a list of questions that would need to be answered in order to proceed with a particular solution (SP1).
As the students start thinking in more concrete terms about their suggested areas of redesign, they gain concrete ideas about how body systems have sub-systems, and how they interact with other systems (CCC Systems and System Models*). Catch a glimpse of what the students discuss as they navigate this process:
As the class is doing this, I ask the students that do not have enough XP to participate in teams to join me in the back of the room and tell them that they have 24 hours to catch up (by next class period) if they so wish. If they are not able to meet the deadline, they will continue to work on the blog assignment until done and will then gain access to the ABC project.
*Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
To close this lesson, I tell the students that it is time to consider grouping. In deciding who they will partner up they must first individually select their top three suggestions for their project. On that same piece of paper, I ask them to include what they consider the set of skills they believe they will need in their group, and underline those they possess. I will choose who they will work with, taking their exit ticket into consideration (SW 1, SW 2, SW 3).
Note to teachers: For this project I prefer foursomes. When grouping the students , I consider not only their interest (motivation), but also pay attention to ability level and learning style. I try to ensure that in each group has a mix of abilities and strengths that will help the students succeed.