In this unit, students take on the role of engineers and engage in the design process to design, build, and test a physical model for crossing a crevasse to keep mountain climbers, researchers, and snow sport enthusiasts safe. Lesson One helps students develop empathy around the danger a crevasse poses for those who travel across snowy terrain and teaches how the danger is currently addressed. Lesson Two teaches brainstorming skills that will be applied later during the design challenge, where students come up with new ideas for crossing a crevasse. In Lesson Three, students build a structure from straws and connectors to learn about variables, failure points, and conducting fair test on a design solution. Lesson Four is the design challenge where students brainstorm ideas, create and test a prototype model, and then refine the design according to a set of criteria and constraints.
- Students will use videos and printed information to answer discussion questions and create an informational text piece
- Students will learn and practice effective brainstorming skills
- Student teams will build a structure and identify variables and failure points that affect its structural integrity
- Student teams will iterate and test their designs until they meet the defined criteria and constraints
In the empathy phase students write informational texts to examine ways of preventing people from falling into a crevasse (W.3.2). During the define phase students build a simple structure and consider its failure points and variables to identify aspects that can be improved (3-5-ETS1-3). Students also learn the how to effectively generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem via brainstorming based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem (3-5-ETS1-2). During the design challenge students engage in the steps of the design process to generate, compare, and test a solution against criteria and constraints (3-5-ETS1-2)(3-5-ETS1-3). Then they write a informational text piece on preventing a fall into a crevasse using descriptive details and clear event sequences obtained during the design process (W.3.2).