Reflection: Rigor Trying to Touch the Sky - Section 2: Ready, Set, Design


One strategy I implemented with lessons that involved creativity and design is the strategy of setting limitations. The size of the skyscraper needed to be limited so that it would topple over with minimal disruption.

I set limits on time that they could work to make it connect to real world understanding of time limits that are placed on engineers. In the lab, it also serves as a "chaos control" device. Legos create a level of excitement and engages students. Time limitations, and the five step process, helps those who have trouble focusing on tasks by helping them perceive time limits and work within them.

To differentiate, students who need support are placed in teams who will support them. I monitor that carefully and as I get to know my students, develop a better understanding of how I can support their learning and then support the development of inquiry by drawing on the strengths around them. 

  Setting Limitations
  Rigor: Setting Limitations
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Trying to Touch the Sky

Unit 4: Weathering
Lesson 12 of 15

Objective: Students use what they understand about the lithosphere and use engineering design skills to create a model skyscraper that withstands a simulated earthquake.

Big Idea: Using Lego blocks, students design and test model skyscrapers that must withstand a model earthquake as they learn how geotechnical engineering plays a role in designing skyscrapers.

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Science, weathering, engineering, core samples , glaciers, soil
  65 minutes
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