Unit Overview:

                        Can you think of other ways to communicate besides speaking?

In this unit, students will identify how to communicate messages over a distance with light and sound. Students will examine how communicating without language barriers and over distances can help people. Within the criteria and constraints of the project, in the Design Challenge students choose to either design a percussion instrument to communicate a need in the classroom, or use a CD to reflect a light upon a letter or symbol to send a message.

Educational Outcomes:

  • Students will use given scientific knowledge to generate design solutions.
  • Students will design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the given problem.
  • Students will be able to describe specific features of the design solution.
  • Students will describe the specific expected or required criteria/constraints of the design solution that include:
    • The device is able to send or receive information over a given distance.
    • The device must use light or sound to communicate.
    • Students use only the materials provided when building the device.
  • In evaluating potential solutions, students will describe whether the device:
    • Has the expected or required features of the design solution
    • Provides a solution to the problem involving people communicating over a distance by using light or sound
  • Students describe how communicating over long distances helps people.

 

 


STEAM INTEGRATION

In the Empathy phase of Lesson 1, students investigate reasons for needing to communicate with lights and sounds NGSS 1-PS4-4 . They will identify with the benefits of non-language communication and the need to connect over long distances. In the Define phase of Lesson 2, students focus on ways light can be used to communicate with othersNGSS 1-PS4-4 . The Define phase of Lesson 3 concentrates on different non-language sounds and their meanings as methods of communication  NGSS 1-PS4-4. Taking this further, in the Define phase of Lesson 4 students interpret Morse code messages communicated by sound or light, and students practice interpreting 2 or 3 letter codes  NGSS 1-PS4-4 . In the Design Challenge of Lesson 5 (Ideate, Prototype, and Test phases) student teams record while they iterate ideating a design, prototyping it, testing it, and redesigning it until all requirements are met.

Click on the “+” icon to open each section

Unit Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box  -or-  :

One RAFT “Glove-a-Phone” to be made per student (or small balloons/latex gloves, straws, cardboard tubes of various lengths and widths), sheets of clear plastic wrap and  foil, 8 in by 8 in squares of cardboard or other opaque material, materials from one RAFT Kaleidoscope kit per student (click on:   RAFT Kaleidoscopes ),

Transparent objects, such as reading glasses, plastic wrap, light bulb (if you can see the filament inside clearly), plastic transparency, and water, Translucent objects, such as sunglasses, notebook paper, wax paper, stained glass, a lampshade, and vegetable oil, Opaque objects, such as a book, aluminum paper, upholstery fabric, laminate samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, fishboard, cardboard tubes, plas core scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, CD’s, access to light sources (windows, flashlights, etc.), tape, glue, scissors, timer, measuring devices, etc.

Connecting Materials:

Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, masking tape,

thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

RAFT Idea Sheets (and kits):

RAFT Makerspace Journal Pages (Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in)

Videos:

Design Thinking Overview

Our design thinking units have five phases based on the d.school’s model. Each phase can be repeated to allow students to re-work and iterate while developing deeper understanding of the core concepts. These are the five phases of the design thinking model:

EMPATHIZE: Work to fully understand the experience of the user for whom you are designing.  Do this through observation, interaction, and immersing yourself in their experiences.

DEFINE: Process and synthesize the findings from your empathy work in order to form a user point of view that you will address with your design.

IDEATE: Explore a wide variety of possible solutions through generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions, allowing you to step beyond the obvious and explore a range of ideas.

PROTOTYPE: Transform your ideas into a physical form so that you can experience and interact with them and, in the process, learn and develop more empathy.

TEST: Try out high-resolution products and use observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about the user, and refine your original point of view.

The Design Thinking Process | ReDesigning Theater. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2016, from http://dschool.stanford.edu/redesigningtheater/the-design-thinking-process/

Lesson Overview

                    Why is it sometimes better to send messages by light or sound instead of speaking?

Think about reasons to communicate with light or sound patterns.  When is it advantageous to send light or sound messages instead of using other ways such as speaking?  This lesson focuses on students exploring reasons for using non-language approaches of communication over long distances.  They will participate in shared research and writing projects to provide further insights  (ELA/Literacy W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects. )

 Essential Questions:

  • In what ways do we use light to communicate? Teams of students investigate real uses for light as communication devices (e.g., distance, lack of technology, etc.)
  • Why do we use non-verbal sounds to communicate? Teams of students investigate real uses for sound as communication devices (e.g., distance, lack of technology, etc.)
  • How can communicating by light or by sound be helpful?  Not helpful?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Show video and ask/discuss how the birds were communicating without speaking.
  • Discuss examples of traffic lights, lighthouses, illuminated symbols on elevators, lighted symbols on electronic devices, airplane ground guidance lights, fireflies, deep sea anglerfish, etc. Discuss how lights are used to communicate (e.g., as warning devices, for attraction and advertisement, for safety reasons, etc.
  • Likewise, share how sounds are used (e.g., as warning devices, for attraction and advertisement, for safety reasons, barking dogs, Morse code, car horns, drums, police sirens, foghorns, etc.)
  • Students record in their Maker Journals why they think communicating by light or by sound is helpful.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Show the Video: Non-Verbal Ways to Communicate

T:  How did the birds show their feelings without speaking?  What kinds of feelings were they showing?

S: frustration, surprise, boredom, excitement, anger, fear… They showed their feelings with the eyes, bodies, noises…

T: Can you think of other ways to send messages without speaking?  How do you think light and sound help us communicate?  (perhaps display a chart in front of class listing student responses while students share out ideas;  with 2 columns — one for light  sources and the other for sound sources)

S: Sign language, morse code, lighthouses, bats/echolocation…

T: (Pass out and explain Maker Journal Page, and reference where students may locate examples and research information).   Now I’d like you and your teammate to do some research about ways to communicate with light and sound and to record your findings on your Maker Journal pages.

(Give student teams time to research and record in their Maker Journals, then call back to whole group)

T: Let’s share what you thought about in your Maker Journals (share out responses, encourage asking questions and positive feedback with one another along the way)


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Vocabulary:

Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individueals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. (Also: exchange of information)

Morse Code: an alphabet or code in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short signals of light or sound.

Lesson Materials

Examples of sound and light for communication (many could be in either category below):

Warning/safety devices:  pictures and/or online sources for sirens, flashing lights, lighthouses, traffic lights, elevator buttons, power symbols on electronics, airplane landing lights, barking dog, foghorns, etc.

Attraction/advertisement devices:  pictures and/or online sources for neon signs, fireflies, deep angler fish, beating drum, car horns, etc.

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  

 

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Understand there are different reasons for communicating with light and/or sound.
  • Recognize benefits and hindrances for non-language communications by light and/or sound.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Students review their own reasons for using light and sound as alternative communication methods. Students evaluate whether their explanation clearly addresses how light and sound can be useful (and not so useful) communication devices.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare and explain what they feel about communicating with sound or light.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss , compare, and reason their findings around different ways to communicate with sound and light.

Lesson 2 Overview

How can we use light to send messages?

In this lesson, student teams focus on various ways that light is transmitted and how to use light as a source for transmitting messages over a distance ( NGSS 1-PS4-4.).  Student teams will investigate reflection and refraction of light and record how light could be used to transmit a message.

Essential Questions:

  • How does communicating with light help people?
  • What are examples of everyday light sources that are messages?
  • What makes an object transparent, translucent, or opaque?

 LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Show video and ask/discuss how light waves work and then pass out to student teams flashlights, and materials that demonstrate the concepts of transparency, translucence, and opaqueness with the light. Introduce reflection, refraction, and absorption of light waves.
  • Discuss examples of light used for communication: (e.g., traffic lights, lighthouses, illuminated symbols on elevators, lighted symbols on electronic devices, airplane ground guidance lights, fireflies, deep sea anglerfish, etc.)  Discuss how lights are used to communicate (e.g., as warning devices, for attraction and advertisement, for safety reasons, etc.)
  • Students investigate a variety of everyday light sources and explain how these sources are used to communicate messages over long distances.
  • Student teams make RAFT Kaleidoscopes  to investigate how light reflects and refracts off objects. (optional)
  • Students compare and contrast the location of a light beam from a flashlight reflected off a mirror to the reflection of light within the Kaleidoscopes. They examine the refraction effect of a straw placed in a cup of water. They observe how reflection and refraction of light might be used for sending messages.
  • Students record in their Maker Journals how light sources might be useful and when they also may not be useful as devices for non-verbal communication, and then share results with the class.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Show the Video:

T:  What did you learn about light from the video?

S: Light always travels in a straight line until something gets in its way.  When that happens, light can be absorbed, reflected, or refracted, depending on what kind of surface it hits.

T: Objects vary in how they transmit light to our eyes. Let’s do a short experiment to see how light waves react with different materials.  (Can be done whole group, or as partners.  Pass out to each team: something transparent (one piece of clear plastic wrap), something reflective (one piece of foil), something that will block/absorb light (one piece of cardboard), and a flashlight.) Have one teammate hold the piece of plastic wrap above your desk while the other teammate turns on the flashlight and flashes the light on top of the plastic wrap. (wait for all teams to do this)….What do you notice?

S: The light shines right through the plastic wrap ….

T: The plastic wrap is transparent because it allows light to go through it!  What other transparent objects can you name?

S: air, water, clear glass, some plastic…

T: Now let’s take away the plastic wrap and do the same thing with the piece of foil.  What do you notice when you turn on the light?

S: The light shines back at me but it doesn’t pass through the foil

T: The foil is reflective — Can you think of any other materials that respond to light like this?

S: mirrors, shiny metal, sometimes water and glass…

T: Now take away the foil and do the same thing with the piece of cardboard.  What do you notice?

S: Light doesn’t go through or shine back, light shines only on the cardboard…

T: The cardboard is opaque — Opaque objects block light from traveling through them. Most of the light is either reflected by the object or absorbed.   Can you think of any other materials that absorb light?

S: wood, my body, stones and rocks, heavy wool fabric, walls, doors…..

T: Let’s think a bit more about light waves. [Optional: make kaleidoscopes with the RAFT kit:  RAFT Kaleidoscopes]

T: [Pass out to student teams: one flashlight and one mirror (or send student teams to a location for materials)] Place your mirror in front of you, and then turn your flashlights on facing the mirror.  Where does the light wave appear?

S: if it is at an angle, it will reflect at an angle, etc.

T:  How does the location of the light change as you move the flashlight to other places along the mirror? (explain—–> angle of reflection = angle of refraction….).

S: When I shine directly at the mirror, it shine back, but when I turn the mirror, the light moves left/right…

T:  (Have student teams pair up and send a light waves across two or more mirrors and then record findings in their Maker Journals).

T:  Can you think of a way to send a message with the flashlights? Do you think a light wave could be used to send a message? How?

S: turn light on and off to send a signal,…

T:  (Pass out Maker Journal Page). Let’s record in your Maker Journals how you think light can be used to send messages.

(give students time to reflect and record their thoughts, and then bring them together to share with the whole group)


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Vocabulary (some of this is beyond 1st grade level but is great background information):

Light:   Light faster than sound. Light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The word usually refers to visible light, which is visible to the human eye and is responsible for the sense of sight.[1] Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres(nm), or 4.00 × 10−7 to 7.00 × 10−7 m, between the infrared (with longer wavelengths) and the ultraviolet (with shorter wavelengths). Here’s an interesting resource on beneficial reasons to use light sources for communications —> LINK

Opaque: Opaque objects block light from traveling through them. Most of the light is either reflected by the object or absorbed and converted to thermal energy. Materials such as wood, stone, and metals are opaque to visible light.

Reflection: Reflection occurs when light bounces off objects.  How much reflection depends upon how even the surface is.  If the surface is rough, the light scatters.  If the surface is smooth and flat, the light will bounce off it at equal angles.  That is why a flat mirror reflects a good likeness of the object being reflected.

Refraction: Refraction occurs because light bends.  Think of a straw in a clear cup full of water.  Looking through the cup it seems as if the straw is bending because of the refraction of light.

Translucent: Translucent objects allow some light to travel through them. Materials like frosted glass and some plastics are called translucent. When light strikes translucent materials, only some of the light passes through them. The light does not pass directly through the materials. It changes direction many times and is scattered as it passes through. Therefore, we cannot see clearly through them and objects on the other side of a translucent object appear fuzzy and unclear.

Transparent: Transparent objects allow light to travel through them. Materials like air, water, and clear glass are called transparent. When light encounters transparent materials, almost all of it passes directly through them. Glass, for example, is transparent to all visible light.

 

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box           -and/or-

Materials from one RAFT Kaleidoscope kit per student (click on:   RAFT Kaleidoscopes ), Transparent objects, such as reading glasses, plastic wrap, light bulb (if you can see the filament inside clearly), plastic transparency, and water, Translucent objects, such as sunglasses, notebook paper, wax paper, stained glass, a lampshade, and vegetable oil, Opaque objects, such as a book, aluminum paper, upholstery fabric, spoons, sheets of clear plastic wrap and  foil, 8 in by 8 in squares of cardboard or other opaque matrial, flashlights for student teams (or one location for teams to share), mirrors (to shine flashlight onto to demonstrate reflection), Laminate samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, fishboard, cardboard tubes, plasticore, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, CD’s, access to light sources, flashlights, mirrors, clear cups, straws,  scissors, timer, measuring devices, etc.

Connecting Materials:

Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., water, tape, glue, paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  Explain the concept of “light communication” to the class.   You may choose to pace the lesson into two 30 minute sections: first section on transparent, translucent, and opaque objects, and the second session on sending messages via reflecting/refracting light. 

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

Explain what is meant by transparent, translucent, and opaque materials.

Explain reflection and refraction of light.

Use tools and materials to show how light can be used to send  a message.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Students review their own method for using light fo communicating over a distance. Students evaluate whether their explanation clearly addresses how light can be useful (and not so useful) communication devices.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare and explain what they feel about communicating with light.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss , compare, and reason their abilities to communicate with light over a distance.

Lesson 3 Overview:

                             How can we use sound to send messages?

This lesson focuses on student teams investigating various ways to use sound as a source for transmitting messages over a distance ( NGSS 1-PS4-4.).  Student teams will practice sending and receiving messages from one another, and then explain how/why their method worked (or didn’t) to the class.

Essential Questions:

  • What do sounds tell you?
  • How can we design a device that uses sound to communicate with others?
  • What are examples of everyday sound sources that communicate with others?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

 

  • Student teams investigate one or two everyday sound sources and explain how these sources are used to communicate messages over long distances.
  • Optional: Student teams make RAFT “Glove-a-Phones” in different tube sizes.  RAFT “Glove-a-Phone”
  • Student teams record in their Maker Journals how sound sources are useful to humans as devices for non-verbal communication.
  • Students record in their Maker Journals and explain to each other sound devices used to communicate over long distances.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Show the Video: What is Sound?

T:  (after the video make sounds with several different instruments and materials.  For example: ring a bell, strike a triangle or drum, strum along a comb, tape sticks together) Who can give or show me an example of a pleasant sound? How about an annoying sound? What are examples of everyday sound sources that communicate with others?

S: talking, dogs barking, phones ringing, beeping at a crosswalk, car horns, recess bell…

T: What type of message are they sending?

S: a barking dog might be sending the message that it’s angry or lonely…. A honking car in traffic is sending a message to pay attention

 

T: Optional additional sound exploration: Today we’re making glove-a-phones! [Pass out materials (or send student teams to a location for materials) and have teams make “glove-a-phones” with the RAFT kit:   RAFT “Glove-a-Phone” )

T: (Pass out Maker Journal page)  Team up and record in your Maker Journals how sound can be used to send messages, and after I call time we will share together what you learned today about how sounds send messages.(Student teams record in their Maker Journals how sound sources are useful to humans as devices for non-verbal communication and explain to each other how sound devices are used to communicate messages).


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

First Grader Vocabulary:

Sound:  Vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Light travels faster than sound.

  • Sound energy moves through a process of vibrating air molecules, which create a chain reaction of vibrating molecules that the ear perceives as sound.
  • The farther you are from the origin of the sound, the less the chance that you will be able to feel the vibration, and thus the less you can hear the sound.
  • The size of the object that begins the wave of sound energy will produce a different type of wave than another object that is a different size.
  • Sound energy, because it is based on vibrations, must travel through something: if you have a vacuum of space such as a black hole, there can be no sound.

Sound WAVE:   A sound wave is the pattern of disturbance caused by the movement of energy traveling through a medium (such as air, water, or any other liquid or solid matter) as it propagates away from the source of the sound. The source is some object that causes a vibration, such as a ringing telephone, or a person’s vocal chords. The vibration disturbs the particles in the surrounding medium; those particles disturb those next to them, and so on. The pattern of the disturbance creates outward movement in a wave pattern, like waves of seawater on the ocean. The wave carries the sound energy through the medium, usually in all directions and less intensely as it moves farther from the source.

Vibration: A rapid back and forth movement.                   

Wave: A path of vibration.

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box           -or-

One RAFT “Glove-a-Phone”  (click on link) to be made per student (or small balloons/latex gloves, straws, cardboard tubes of various lengths and widths), scissors, laminate samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, fishboard, cardboard tubes, plas core scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, CD’s, access to light sources (windows, flashlights, etc.), tape, glue, scissors, timer, measuring devices, etc.

Connecting Materials:

Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., masking tape rubber bands, paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, labels & stickers, etc.)

 

 

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Lesson 3 Maker Journal Page                        

 

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  Explain the concept of “sound communication” to the class.   

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Use tools and materials to design a device that uses sound to communicate a message.
  • Explain and show sound vibrations.
  • Understand that sounds can be useful for sending messages, and identify sounds that send different types of messages.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Students review their own method for using sound to communicating over a distance. Students evaluate whether their explanation clearly addresses how sound can be useful (and not so useful) communication devices.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare and explain what they feel about communicating with different sound sources.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss , compare, and reason their abilities to communicate with sound over a distance.

Lesson 4 Overview

   How does Morse code communicate?

The focus on sound and light in this lesson uses a famous coding device based on symbol patterns to deliver messages over distances. Student teams will learn simple Morse code,  devise easy coded messages, and then pass them to another team to decode  (ELA/Literacy W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects.)

Essential Questions:

  • What is a code? What is Morse code?
  • How can we design a device that uses light or sound to send a Morse code message?
  • How can we understand the message pattern?

 LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Introduce students to sending a message by taping sounds and by flashing lights.
  • Introduce the concept of a code. Then give students a set of 10 easy symbols that could be used to send a Morse code. Students use only two or three of those symbols to convey a simple message.
  • Students record their simple messages in their Maker Journals, along with the decoded meaning of the message(s).
  • Students trade messages and attempt to decode each other’s message(s).

Student Directions (Click + to open)

The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Show the Video: What is Morse Code?

T: What are codes?

S: a way to use symbols in certain patterns (sounds, etc.) to represent messages…

T: Patterns can be made out of sounds and out of lights—- can anyone show me a pattern by clapping their hands?

S: (answers vary … clap-clap-dah-clap-clap —pause — clap-clap!)

T: (Hold up a flashlight). Can anyone show me a light pattern using this flashlight?

S: (answers vary … a sequence of short flashes)

T: Let’s take a look at a clever machine that someone made a long time ago to send messages over long distances (show the video:  What is Morse Code?)

T: (After the video hand out Maker Journal Page). Discuss the pattern of dots and dashes shown on the Maker Journal page).  Notice different patterns of dots and dashes. A dot is one short sound — (make a short sound by buzzing lips, or clapping hands, and then have them repeat).

T: (Show them what a dash looks like, and then make a buzzing sound, or rubs hands together to make sound for 3 seconds). A dash is one longer 3 second sound. Now you do it.

T: Look at the letter “A” on the Morse Code chart. It has one dot and a space, and then one dash.  The sound for this would be …. (one short sound, a short pause, then 3 second sound ——— have them repeat).

T: Look for a different letter and raise your hand if you’d like to show us how it would sound.

S: (answers vary …) “S” sounds like this…; “D” sounds like this ….

T: Look at that! So far we know the Morse Code for the letters S, A, and D. What if we put them together to spell a word?  How about the word “SAD”! (Demonstrate how to do this, and then give students a few minutes to practice other code sounds — do this as long as you think they are understanding how to convert dots and dashes to sounds).

T: Now look at your Maker Journal Page.  You are shown a set of 10 easy symbols that could be used to send a Morse code. Work together with your teammate to make simple words with these symbols and try out different sounds to send them to another team. See if the other team can figure out your message!

(After awhile call time)

T: How could we have used a flashlight to send Morse Codes?

S: Quick on and off is a dot, and 3 seconds of light on is a dash.


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Vocabulary:

Code: a system of signals such as sounds or lights) or symbols (such as letters of numbers) for communication used to represent assigned and often secret meanings.

Morse Code: Morse Code is a system of electronic communication. It uses dots, dashes, and spaces to represent letters, punctuation, and numbers. The symbols are arranged to spell out a message. A machine called a telegraph converts the symbols into electrical signals and sends them across a wire to their destination. The signals are then converted back into the message by the telegraph that receives them. 

Samuel Finley Breese Morse:   (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

Sound:  Vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Light travels faster than sound.

  • Sound energy moves through a process of vibrating air molecules, which create a chain reaction of vibrating molecules that the ear perceives as sound.
  • The farther you are from the origin of the sound, the less the chance that you will be able to feel the vibration, and thus the less you can hear the sound.
  • The size of the object that begins the wave of sound energy will produce a different type of wave than another object that is a different size.
  • Sound energy, because it is based on vibrations, must travel through something: if you have a vacuum of space such as a black hole, there can be no sound.

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box           -or-

One RAFT “Glove-a-Phone”  (click on link) per student (or small balloons/latex gloves, straws, cardboard tubes of various lengths and widths), scissors, laminate samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, fishboard, cardboard tubes, plas core scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, CD’s, access to light sources (windows, flashlights, etc.), tape, glue, scissors, timer, measuring devices, etc.

Connecting Materials:

Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., masking tape rubber bands, paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, labels & stickers, etc.)

 

 

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  Explain the concept of “sound communication” to the class.   

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

Send a simple Morse code message using sound to communicate a short message over a distance.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Students review their own method for using sound signals to communicating over a distance. Students evaluate whether their explanation clearly addresses how coding can be useful (and not so useful) communication devices.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare and explain what they feel about communicating with sound codes.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss , compare, and reason their abilities to communicate with sound/codes over a distance.

Design Challenge Overview

          How can we design an instrument or a coding device to send classroom messages to the rest of the school?

Option 1: Students use upcycled materials to create a percussion instrument to communicate a specific classroom message to the rest of the school, or

Option 2: Students use upcycled reflective materials to shine a light upon letters or symbols to send classroom messages to the rest of the school.

Essential Questions:

  • How can we design something that communicates an important classroom message to the rest of the school by using sound or light?
  • What do we need to consider? What are our criteria and constraints?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Present and explain the Design Challenge.
  • Ask leading questions to prompt student thinking about the criteria and constraints to be considered. The students decide on the criteria and constraints for the final design challenge. Expected or required criteria/constraints should include:
    • The device is able to send or receive information over a given distance.
    • The device must use light or sound to communicate.
    • Students use only the provided materials when building the device.
  • Student teams choose one of the two options for their design challenge.
  • Students draw pictures of their design ideas in the Maker Journals, then prototype their ideas, test them, and reiterate until a final design is chosen that meets all criteria and constraints.
  • Student teams describe specific features of their design solution (including how it satisfies the design criteria and constraints) in their Maker Journals.
  • Students describe to the class and/or another audience:
    • How their device meets the expected criteria and constraints of the design solution
    • How their device provides a solution to the problem
    • How using light or sound to communicate over long distances is helpful

Introduce the Design Challenge (Click + to open)

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion.

T: Why is it helpful sometimes to send messages by light or sound instead of talking to someone?

S: because people might not speak the same language; people might be too far apart from each other; signals/symbols/patterns can be understood by anyone, etc.

T:  What examples can you tell us about that use sound and light to send messages, sometimes over long distances?

S:  telephones let you to talk to someone over a long distance; TV’s show pictures and sound over distances; drums/sirens/light houses, etc., can sound or shine a light as a warning signal; etc.

T:  We have been learning a lot about sound and light to send messages. Today I have a Design Challenge for you!   What can your team create out of recycled materials to send messages from our classroom to the rest of the school?

Your team can choose from two options of what to design:

Option 1: Use materials from our Makerspace to create a percussion instrument to communicate a specific classroom message to the rest of the school, or

Option 2: Use reflective materials from our Makerspace to shine a light upon letters or symbols to send classroom messages to the rest of the school.

T:  What should our criteria and constraints be? Engineers design things using some rules about how the designs must behave or work.  These rules are called criteria.  Engineers can run out of materials, money, time to build, or space in which to build something.  In other words there are limits on how something can be built.  These limits are called constraints.  (review the criteria and constraints for this challenge and pass out Maker Journal Page for them to keep track of the criteria, constraints, and to choose one of the two options as a team):

Criteria (design requirements) Constraints (design limitations)
  • Model must be able to send or receive a message at least the distance across the playground.
  • Model must be easily put together and taken apart
  • Model is portable
  • Model must be built with materials provided
  • Model must be completed and tested in the given time
  • If you choose Option 1: your model must be a percussion instrument
  • If your choose Option 2: your model must use reflective materials to shine a light upon letters or symbols
  • Model must not be secured to the ground or testing area in any way

Ideate In the ideate Phase of the Design Thinking process, student teams brainstorm ideas for how they could design a model for the problem given the criteria and constraints. Any idea is possible. Give students a short amount of time to quickly brainstorm their ideas (suggestion: pass out post-it sticky notes for students to record ideas). Keep in mind students may choose to or need to return to this phase as they iterate through the Design Thinking Process.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

T:  Engineers begin with something they call the Ideate phase when they begin to think of ideas for a design. The Ideate phase is part of the whole Design thinking process. Have you ever heard of the word “brainstorm”? What does it mean?

S: coming up with lots of ideas

T:  I’m going to give you 10 minutes to ideate, which means to record on post-its all possible design ideas you can think of to solve your choice of Design Challenge option — when time is called, spread all your post it notes out in front of you…

S: (Student teams decide on one of the two Design Challenge Options, and then quickly brainstorm together ideas until time is called).

T:  (call time.  Pass out Maker Journal Page and point to the section as you explain the following…). Take a minute to look at all your team’s ideas, and then record your favorite ideas under the “Ideate” section on your Maker Journal page.

S: (students record ideas on Maker Journal pages…)

T: Now, based on your ideas, you’re ready to move to the prototype phase where you will build models of your idea!

Prototype

In the Prototype Phase teams build a model of their design based upon ideas generated from the Ideate Phase (keep in mind students may choose to or need to return to this phase as they iterate through the prototype, and test phases)

Student Directions (Click + to open)

T: Look at the ideas your team got from the Ideate Phase of Design Thinking. Take one or combine more than one of those ideas together to design a sample model for your Design Challenge Option. Remember to record information about your prototype on your Maker Journal Page in the “Prototype” section. You have 20 minutes to prototype a design — starting right now!

S: (student teams work together building their models)

T: (Walk around teams, add encouragement if needed and look for examples of communication, collaboration, engaged conversations, involvement, cooperation, etc.)

Test your Design

Students test their prototype according to how it holds up to all criteria and constraints. If the test fails, students may choose or need to return to this phase after designing a new prototype, testing it, retesting it, and iterating through these phases again and again until a final model is agreed upon.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

T: You need to test your models to see it they hold up to all the criteria and constraints. What happens if your model fails a test?

S: We figure out why it failed, we go back to the “drawing board” and pick another design to build, or change something about our design that failed

T: What if that model doesn’t pass the test? Do you give up?

S: No, we keep on trying until we find a model that works!

 

T: (allow teams time to prototype, test, and iterate their designs and to report this information in their Maker Journal Page)

T: Now your team will build a final design, and draw what it looks like in your Maker Journals

 

S: (have student teams share their final designs and explain their projects to an audience)


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Vocabulary:

Criteria: a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

Constraints: The state of being restricted or confined within prescribed bounds.

Design Challenge Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box           -or-

Laminate samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, fishboard, cardboard tubes, plas core scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, CD’s, access to light sources (windows, flashlights, etc.), tape, glue, scissors, timer, measuring devices, etc.

Connecting Materials:

Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, masking tape,

thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

 

 

Teacher Notes

This culminating lesson brings together all that the students have learned in this unit.  Encourage students to create their own criteria and constraints for the final design challenge.  Model ways to brainstorm, communicate, share, and carry out ideas.  Encourage mistakes as they are part of the learning process. Allow students time to research, and to interpret, their own ideas for coming up with a plan for their design challenges.

Encourage  opportunities for students to examine each other’s findings and to make comments in front of each other and other audiences.

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the given problem.
  • Describe specific features of the design solution.
  • Describe the specific expected or required criteria/constraints of the design solution that include:
    • The device is able to send or receive information over a given distance.
    • The device must use light or sound to communicate.
    • Students use only the materials provided when building the device.
  • In evaluating potential solutions, students will describe whether the device:
    • Has the expected or required features of the design solution
    • Provides a solution to the problem involving people communicating over a distance by using light or sound
  • Describe how communicating with light and/or sound over long distances helps people.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student groups review their makerspace journal and summarize their learning in a group discussion

Peer Assessment

Student groups discuss and compare their findings and share different methods of communication through sound and light. Students should also share the difficulties that they discovered in the process.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individual groups as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings.