The Power Grid Project - Day 2

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Students synthesize information from a variety of sources to create a visual that explains how electric energy is generated and transmitted to our homes.

Big Idea

The electric power grid is a complex system composed of many pieces, including electric generators, step-up transformers, step-down transformers and wires all working together to deliver electric power to our homes.

Context and Supplies

Today is a continuation of a project that was started the previous lesson. Students finish a poster that communicates how electric energy is generated and transmitted to our homes. The final product is a poster that explains the essential components of our electric power grid. 

Students have access to computers and must research the power grid and how its various pieces, such as generators and transformers, work together to deliver electric power. CCSS RST.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question is used as is RST.11-12.9: Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

Students also use NGSS Science Practice 1: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Science Practice 6: Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) and Science Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information all in the context of performance standard HS-PS2-5: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that an electric current can produce a magnetic field and that a changing magnetic field can produce an electric current. Since voltage is an electric potential due to electric fields, the performance standards HS-PS3-5: Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.

Students Work On Grid Project

50 minutes

At the beginning of the period, groups have a draft of their poster which I have already reviewed with them. Most groups also have the outline drawn on their poster and work to fill in the details. The students work in groups of four and every student has a role to fill. The Group Leader is to focus on the project requirements and ensure that the poster has all of the required information. The Lead Researcher has a variety of resources available to collect the needed information, including physics texts books, computers with internet access, their smart phones and their own notebooks. The Image Specialist and Design and Layout Specialist are the students that actively work to fill in the information on the poster.

While students engage in the activity, I walk around the room and monitor their progress and to make sure that all students are on task. If a student is not actively contributing to the project I ask why. Usually they say they have done their part to which I reply that they must find other ways to contribute. If they don't then their group loses points as the rubric (Power Grid Project) requires that all students are engaged at all times. I also employ the Colored Cups which informs me of when students are in need of support.

Students spend the entire period to complete their project posters. As groups complete their projects, I instruct them to grade their own work with the rubric. I have students do this so that they assess their own work before I do. This is also their last chance to catch any mistakes or missing items on the poster. Then they bring their work to me and I grade it on the spot. Students hang their projects up in the hallway and as the project day nears the end the hall is full of Wall Work which informs all who walk by how the electric grid works.

The next unit in my curriculum is waves. I gives student the Wave Introduction Video assignment which is to watch a video on waves that introduces basic wave concepts such as amplitude, frequency and wavelength. Students are to take notes on all of these concepts in their notebook. They also practice a few wave word problems that are on the assignment. Students are to demonstrate their understanding of the wave concepts with a short quiz at the beginning of the next lesson, Wave Hello.