The Engineering Design Process
To begin the lesson, I ask students to have a two minute discussion with their partner(s) about two (2) important questions. These questions will get them thinking about the lesson objective. I ask the questions:
What is the engineering design process? Some answers include: It's a process engineers go through to build something. It's a process that starts with a question to figure out an answer.
How can we use the EDP today in class? Some answers include: You go through each step of the EDP and plan your work. I'll use the EDP to plan with my partner and build my solar oven.
Then, I ask students to take 2 minutes to Turn and Talk with their partner. "This strategy permits all students to participate in discussion, rather than only a few students participating in a class-wide discussion. All students are able to process new learning while engaging in meaningful conversation with a classmate." From the free website TeacherToolKit.
By asking students to implement the Engineering Design Process (EDP), they will go through the (EDP) steps as they work through the process. As a class, review this EDP, reinforce that it is iterative, and bring students back to the EDP chart during their work.
Build A Solar Oven
Essential Question: How do Earth, Sun, and Moon affect my life?
This lesson uses concepts from the lesson What is energy? where I want students to gain background knowledge about the transfer of heat energy and then apply that knowledge to designing, creating, and building a solar oven.
I present student groups with an engineering design challenge. Students reference the essential question and the EDP (Engineering Design Process) as they work through this challenge. For this Solar Oven Challenge, I provide a uniform set of materials for each student group and a worksheet with a target and 4 diagrams which illustrates a basic outline of a model of a solar oven.
There are several goals (standards) that are addressed in this Solar Oven Challenge such as (SP#2) develop and use a model of a solar oven. The model is used to develop questions (SP#1), make predictions, and analyze flaws in the system (solar oven). Students (SP#3) plan and carry out an investigation collaboratively to understand the essential question and collect data (effectiveness/results) from using a solar oven. During the challenge, students (SP#8) obtain, evaluate, and communicate information by describing the parts and function of a solar oven and how the oven keeps heat in to cook food. This skill (SP#8) is a critical professional activity.
The NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts are weaved into this experience as well. CCC#2 cause and effect because events such as sunrise and sunset have causes and effects. CCC#5 energy and matter because the sun's energy flows (radiation) and CCC#6 structure and function because the shape and materials used for a solar oven relate to its effectiveness.