BY Lauren Serpa
West Tisbury School
The funds from this grant will be used to purchase the Engineering is Elementary (EIE) Curriculum kit for Grades 3 and the Industrial Technology (IT) Grades 4-8 classes. This unit, called “The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems” was designed (by the Boston Museum of Science) specifically for the engineering standards in Grade 3, but also include standards for the upper level grades and can be used in both Grade 3 (both teachers) and through the IT class which is Grades 4-8. The state of Massachusetts has adopted and will be implementing the Next Generation Science Standards next year and these curriculum kits are one way of being prepared for this change. Some of the standards that this particular kit will cover include the following: -Provide evidence to explain the effect of multiple forces, including friction, on an object. Include balanced forces that do not change the motion of the object and unbalanced forces that do change the motion of the object. -Conduct an investigation to determine the nature of the forces between two magnets based on their orientations and distance relative to each other. -Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying the use of the interactions between magnets. These are all new standards that teachers will need to teach, and this kit allows an easy way to introduce these topics. Teachers from the island will be trained by the Boston Museum of Science in using this kit, and will then return to the island and train all other teachers.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
This curriculum unit comes with it’s own rubrics for student assessment. I will also be assessing student engagement by contributions to class discussions and student work. Students will be designing and modeling a traffic intersection to increase safety and efficiency. Students will be using the engineering design process to design, test and improve Maglev transportation systems. They will make improvements to their original designs based on testing results. Units also come with their own pre and post assessments and assessments for each unit. Students should also be able to ask about the problem, imagine different solutions, plan their Maglev systems, give their design to another group to create, and improve their original designs. Each EIE unit also includes modifications to make activities more challenging or simpler, based on the abilities of my students.
Benefit to the students and the school
This kit would allow us as a school to begin implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which the state of Massachusetts has adopted and will begin implementing next year. These are new, nationwide standards and there are new engineering standards for every grade level. Our teachers are all new to teaching engineering and this curriculum would help both Grade 3 teachers and the Industrial Technology classes (Grades 4-8). this is one of the many kits we would like to get as a school, and even to share with other schools across the island. It is very difficult to get professional development here on the island, so these curriculum kits will allow us to include the engineering standards in a relatively easy way. The island will be sending three teachers to be trained at the Boston Museum of Science in these curriculum kits. They will be able to come back to the island and train all Science teachers. Students will gain access to the engineering standards and all island schools will be able to share lessons and curriculum kits. This will lead to greater collaboration with island teachers.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
This new engineering curriculum would be used as soon as possible so teachers will be ready to implement the NGSS next year.