Reflection: Student Ownership Wild Water Slide: Engineering and Experimental Design (Part 2/3) - Section 2: Explain


An "approval consultation" addresses the student need for balance between independence and accountability to the learning. Whether students work individually or in groups, consistent and well-time checks for understanding are a powerful strategy.

An approval consultation creates a critical formative checkpoint in the design-build process that is very effective. When students are meeting with me, I can extract their ideas, misunderstandings, and probe their thinking with higher-level questions. Questioning adds rigor to the design process (SP3 Planning and Carrying Out Investigations) and can help students make connections to core disciplinary ideas related to forces and crosscutting concepts such as Cause and Effect (CCC) and Structure and Function (CCC). Some questions that could be posed are:

How does the ____________ affect the performance of your slide?

What might cause the slide to succeed in terms of the design challenge?

What might you need to consider in order to prevent failure of your slide to fail in terms of the design challenge?

Why did you design the ___________ part of the slide that way? What function does it have?

What about the structure of your slide serves a specific function or does a certain job?

What are the forces at work in your slide?

How might these forces affect the performance of your slide?

Additionally, an approval consultation is effective because it is authentic and contributes to student learning. Students make significant changes as we discussed their reasons for specific design and materials choices. By coordinating their design thinking with their materials limitations, they are better prepared for the building step of the process. The consultation process also presents an opportunity to provide direct instruction based on the specific needs of the students or group of students. In this way, consultation is good way to differentiate in a diverse classroom.

  Engineering Design Approval Consultation
  Student Ownership: Engineering Design Approval Consultation
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Wild Water Slide: Engineering and Experimental Design (Part 2/3)

Unit 5: Forces and Motion
Lesson 11 of 18

Objective: SWBAT plan and carry out an engineering and experimental investigation about speed using science and engineering practices.

Big Idea: Welcome to the water park! Create a wild water slide and use it to conduct an experiment to answer questions about speed.

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