Reflection: Rigor Designing a Nuclear Waste Facility Part 3 - Section 2: Design Ideas


The most rigorous mathematical part of this lesson occurs when the student must determine the dimensions of their designs. They have no background knowledge on room size relationships, especially when it comes to storage. I support their learning by printing floor plans of homes from Google Images. In Google Images I look for plans that have length and width or square footage. Many development companies use floor plans to sell their plans. Central Park Development offers dimensioned plans for customers that I have used. 

First students go back to their research to determine if they have information on the size of the facility. Typically they find the size in square feet. I ask, "If I know the facility is 5000 square feet, how can I determine the dimensions?" We discuss that square feet is the area and we need to find the length and width of each room. I ask them, "What can we multiply to get to 5000 square feet?" In table groups students determine different combinations. I ask them to consider their drawings. Which dimension works with the drawings? Using calculators students calculate square feet to determine the dimensions of the storage. 

To help them with the employee rooms like bathrooms and offices, I use a strategy of spatial reasoning. The students measure my room to get an idea of how a 37' x 33' ft. room looks and feels. Allowing students the visual comparison helps them realize how they want the room to look. In addition, I print a dimensioned floor plan from a small home, a larger home, and then a mansion. This gives them the idea of how room dimensions can vary. The hardest part for most students is deciding which dimension to use. 

  Dimensions: Integrating Math
  Rigor: Dimensions: Integrating Math
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Designing a Nuclear Waste Facility Part 3

Unit 8: Designing for the Future: Nuclear Waste Facility
Lesson 3 of 5

Objective: SWBAT determine the best design for a nuclear waste facility.

Big Idea: The fun starts here. Students are armed with lots of cool scientific information and now they can start the designs! They begin to explain how their designs solve the problem, "How should we design a nuclear waste facility?"

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