Saturday, September 1, 2012

Design Squad

This year I inherited a club for the gifted and talented students that is patterned after the PBS series "Design Squad."  I know that this is wildly popular among teachers of GATE students and as I've been taking my first class toward my gifted certification, I found out just how many people utilize this STEM concept in their classrooms.  At my class on Thursday night, others at my table were discussing how to incorporate Design Squad activities into units on desert survival.

The structure our club takes on is that one day students will brainstorm, plan, design, and begin construction and the second day they will build and share.  Piggybacking off the Curiosity landing of the third Mars Rover, students made a moving rover.  They must decide if they will go with the prototype provided, or branch out into something new.  You can find the plans through the picture link below.

During the next meeting, students will be asked to construct a pedistal to hold a "priceless" sculpture using only sentence strips (no need for those in junior high) and 1 meter of tape.  This was an activity I did the first Saturday class I took for the Engineering for gifted students class. (I love my district for providing such great PD!!)  These are the examples that we came up with...

This was our design.  Probably could have done just as well without the sides cut.



The strongest tower.  Each square had additional reinforcement inside.

Strong base


Seldy said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I am teaching two AIG language arts classes this year along with two standard science classes. This is my first experience teaching a class of homogeneous AIG students after getting certified three years ago. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated!

I love the Design Squad challenges and will use some of them on our schoolwide enrichment days where I will have 15 boys doing engineering type activities.


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