Reflection: Student Led Inquiry Trying to Touch the Sky - Section 4: Discovery!


While I set the perimeters of how this lesson needed to be done, the dialogue I heard between students as they designed and built their skyscrapers from Lego blocks was eyeopening. They were asking each other questions, progressing, failing, arguing and in some instances, giving up.  While it was great fun for the majority, one team was unable to finish because of difficulty with getting along. They get along in other situations, but because Lego's were involved, they behaved differently toward one another! Two of them would not let the other one in to help and insisted that their way was correct. They were not listening to my specifications because they were engrossed in being creative. I coached them, stepped away and then let them fail when they wouldn't bend and work together. So, what happened?

Growth. Growth in getting along. Facing design failure and a deeper understanding of the importance of following directions or "orders from the boss," as one of them put it. It was a facet of NGSS and engineering that I didn't think I would see. They met the next day, got their act together and produced some data that helped them discover how to follow the specifications as well as try their hand at making a stable building. It all worked out!

  Student Led Inquiry: Teamwork
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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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