Students become designers and engineers by trying different design challenges based on STEM subjects of interest. #STEMchallenge
- (3-5) Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
- (3-5) Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
- (6-8) Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (possible depending on teacher)
- (6-8) Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
- Articulate and communicate their research and creative design process.
Using Today’s Meet, ask students to draft questions or topics about anything science or STEM-related of which they may be curious. Focus on the making side of STEAM. Show them a Maker Faire video to help stimulate thinking.
- How do circuits work?
- What can I make with cardboard?
- How can I program a robot?
Keep this Today’s Meet open for the duration of this project.
From here, direct students to Curiosity Machine. You can either have the students create an account or you can use your own management system. You can access the design challenges without having an account. Show them the intro video to give them an idea of how it works.
Introduction Video to Curiosity Machine
Let them explore the different types of challenges and topics within the site, having them take notes on Google Keep as to remember which ones they may want to try for Explorations. Explain that Explorations/Challenges products will culminate in a community showcase.
Students document their process on Curiosity Machine or on a platform such as KidBlog or Google Docs. This does not have to be all written, but could be pictures or videos. Consider this four-step process for documentation.
- Plan and Design the solution. What is my design?
- Test, assess and redesign: How did it work? What do I need to change?
- Reflect: How did the whole process go? What could I do differently next time?
Students can use Google Drive or Google Keep to take any notes needed for research. Students may want to draw by hand or even use a drawing app to sketch designs. All of this may depend on what they choose.
Explorations continue as time allows or as the number of desired challenges. The teacher facilitates the challenge process, helping students research and find what they need, providing feedback, and guiding students into deeper learning through these challenges.
Help students plan a community showcase of their challenge creations. Students choose their best work and write or video short descriptive paragraphs summarizing their process for a public audience. Students could create invitations and communicate via social media about their showcase.