Okay here we go…students began to build their landers and rovers after brainstorming and sketching their ideas. After identifying the criteria and constraints, students went to step 3 and brainstormed possible solutions. Step 4 is where students began to design and sketch their projects. Once students selected their design, they then could build. Some interesting sketches came out of this part of the project. Before they could get materials to build Ms. Melcher and I had to check their packets. No stamp, no materials. Step 5 was to build the model and in step 6 they were to test it. One of the problems I saw in this process was students had a tendency to skip step 6, this ended up hurting them in the end. We had to remind them to do this before proceeding to the final drop.
During the build period we also continued to engage students with information on Moon exploration. We video conferenced with DLN (Digital Learning Network) and JPL in California. This was a great opportunity for us to use a great educational tool offered by NASA. Scheduling was easy and they were really great in fitting conferences to our class times. We did this for three days one class period at time. During that time over 150 students participated in the conferences.
The presenter for JPL was Lyle Tavernier, and he did an awesome job. He gave students a brief lesson on Moon exploration. This included future missions such the Orion capsule and SLS systems. Once he shared the background information on the moon and exploration, he then answered questions. Students used this time to asked questions about their designs, Lyle was patient with the students and a big help with their projects. Some of them took his advice to heart and incorporated some of his ideas in their designs.
Once students built their designs they tested them in class or were suppose to, some try to skip this step. At this point we hadn’t given out the the eggs, students were still trying to keep their landers from breaking apart. If they followed the design packet they tested and adjusted their designs. Eventually they were ready for their final drop. We did skip step 8 which was a presentation of their final designs. I think we ran out of time for this step, maybe next year.
The building part of the project we guided the students through their designs, but they took full responsibility of the design and building components. To help teachers understand the engineering design process, NASA has videos on their BEST website discussing this process. They are geared more towards elementary and middle school, but high school teachers can get a basic foundation of the process for their project.
Next Blog the Final Drop…..