Valentine Mailbox - Build and Test - Part 2
Lesson 2 of 5
Objective: SWBAT build and evaluate each other's mailbox design based on the class set mailbox criteria
I paced this lesson over a few of days. Consider planning time for students to share their Valentine diagrams with their reading buddies and providing time for students to modify diagrams.
Day One: Students will need a full period to build their mailbox.
Day Two: Students recap the engineering process and test and evaluate each others mailboxes.
I used an art time for students to paint and decorate their mailbox. First, students painted their boxes. While their boxes were drying, they learned about collage and cut pictures to glue on their mailboxes
K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Students will test and evaluate Valentine mailboxes and later compare the 'top' mailboxes for their strengths and weaknesses.
Science Practices - Appendix F
- Asking Questions and Defining Problems (SP 1)
Students build their mailbox and test how will it works, defining any problems they see with their design that they may need to address.
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data (SP 4)
Students test and fill out and evaluation form to rank how well a mailbox meets each set of criteria.
- Mathematical and Computational Thinking (SP 5)
Students use scores to represent how well a mailbox met the criteria and use those scores to rank the mailboxes.
- Engaging in Argument from Evidence (SP 7)
Students make a claim about how well the mailbox met the criteria based on testing the mailbox and the resulting criteria score.
Cross-cutting Concepts - Appendix G
- Structure and Function (XC 6)
Students consider the structure of the Valentine mailbox and how this affects it function.
Copy 'Mailbox Test and Evaluation'
Collect rolls of tape, pipe cleaners and yarn
Cut up cards for mock Valentine cards; for 'Day 2' each table will need 24 mock cards to use to test the mailboxes
Students' mailbox diagrams made in Valentine Mailbox - Part 1
Question for the Day
Science begins with a question posted on the board. When students return from lunch, we meet on the rug to read our 'science question for the day'. I have established this routine with the kiddos to keep transition time short and effective and redirect student's attention back to content while allowing time for focused peer interaction. This allows students to time to consider today's topic before the lesson has officially begun.
Question for the Day: What is the same and different about our Valentine Mailbox diagrams?
I have looked over the students' diagrams and noted questions if the diagram did not clearly address the standards. Students shared their diagrams with their 'reading buddies' and revised their diagrams before this class period.
Students discuss the question with their partners. I listen to conversations to check for understanding that all the mailboxes have been designed with the same criteria, but the designs are different because the boxes are different and students chose to have their openings in different places.
I call on volunteers to share their answers with the class. Next I pass out student mailbox diagrams and they return to their desks.
Students will need the entire time build their mailboxes
I show students where they can get yarn and pipe cleaners and place 2 rolls of masking tape at each desk. I remind the kiddos to refer to their diagrams as they build their mailbox and to check that it meets the listed criteria, which is posted on the board.
The engineers pick up their boxes and use this time to build their mailboxes. I pass out mock Valentine cards for students to test their boxes as they build. I move around the room, asking questions about how their mailboxes work; have they checked their mailbox to see how well it will stand up if small objects are placed in the box and how they have decided to attach their handle.
Most of the engineering hour is dedicated to building. As students build, I expect they will modify their designs so that they are more stable or because they have seen someone add a design element that they like and will want to try it out on their box.
I encourage students to help one another and collaborate, to help make all the Valentine box designs successful.
Mailbox Gallery Walk
When most students have finished their mailboxes, or close to being finished, I direct students to clean up their area and to meet me on the rug.
"I have really enjoyed watching you all create your mailboxes and test your mailboxes for the criteria. I would like you all to have a chance to see each others' mailboxes. You will have around 5 minutes to go on a gallery walk to view your classmates mailboxes.
After 5 minutes or so, I signal, everyone to return to the rug. I call on volunteers to share what they noticed about each other mailboxes.
"You all had the same criteria, but look how different are your maiboxes! When we look at your mailboxes again, you will have an opportunity to test each others' mailbox and give them feedback on how well they met the criteria."
I call a couple of students at a time to place their mailboxes on the back table.
6 table teams will test and provide feedback on 4 mailboxes, from other tables. The table team will have an evaluation form to fill out for each mailbox. The form will be returned to the mailbox designer.
"Most of you have tested if the Valentine cards fit in your mailbox, and if the mailbox will stay upright, but do you think engineers will only test their design once? Think of James Cameron and when he designed his submersible."
"Your table team will test 4 mailboxes to see how well it meets our mailbox criteria. Then you will fill out a form letting the engineer know how well the mailbox performed. After filling out the form, you will place the form and the mailbox on the back table. Then I will give you another mailbox to test.
"Engineers, after all the mailboxes have been tested. You will have time to review your mailbox evaluation, ask the testers questions about your scores and to modify your mailbox if needed."
On the board I have written the engineering process terms in a circle: identify the problem, plan, design, build, test.
"I want to show you how you have been doing the same thing that engineers do all the time, they are doing these things right this minute as they design bikes, cars or skate park!"
I point to the engineering process terms on the board. "These are the steps engineers take when solving a problem. You are engineers too, because you are solving the Valentine Mailbox problem! "
"Let's review what you all have been doing with the Valentine mailboxes and how it fits with these terms."
Through scaffolding I help students connect between what they have done with the with mailbox project and the engineering design terms.
"To help us remember what these words mean, we could make an icon, a picture to go with each word."
I ask for students' suggestions and quickly make a sketch on a post-it which I will use to create an anchor that will be posted in the classroom.
"Sometimes after we test, we find out that there are some problems we need to fix with the design. Does that mean the engineers have failed? Testing helps engineers improve their design."
"I will call a couple of students at a time to pick up your mailboxes and evaluation forms. Use the remaining time to review your form, talk with the testers about your mailbox if you need to and make changes to your mailbox."
"Once you have finished with your mailbox, turn in the evaluation form and place your mailbox on the back table."