Animal Engineers & Designing For Survival Needs – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Fab Foundation
Fab Foundation
Maker
Our mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and… Read More

Summary

During this lesson, students will work together on engineering design challenges and station-based activities for approximately 75 minutes each day. Day 1 will focus on the developmentally-appropriate design process: Think, Make, Try. Students will: Think about the problem; Make a prototype; and Try and retry until they show some success. Day 2 will focus on tool and material exploration. Day 3 will focus on combining knowledge of process and tools to complete a more open-ended design challenge.

What You'll Need

Materials List

Materials include familiar ones such as: pipe cleaners, cardboard egg cartons, feathers, aluminum foil, strawberry cartons, and yarn. Low tech tools are: scissors, hammers, saws, wrenches and screwdrivers.

High tech tools include a laser cutter and 3D printer. Software used is Maker Studios and Adobe Illustrator

Digital Fabrication Equipment Details

Hardware
3D printing
Laser cutter

Software
Maker Studios
Adobe Illustrator (or equivalent vector graphic software)

The Instructions

Preparation: 

TEACHER NOTE: During this lesson, student groups will work together on engineering design challenges and station-based activities for about 75 minutes each day. Day 1 will focus on the developmentally appropriate design process: Think, Make, Try. This is expanded to the phrases: Think about the problem, Make a prototype, and Try and retry. Day 2 will focus on tool and material exploration. Day 3 will focus on combining knowledge of process and tools to complete a more open-ended design challenge. A full description can be found in the attached “Animal Engineers Program.”

A.    Opening Whole Group Time (20 min)

Essential Question: Engineering is…

TEACHER NOTE: Read the following quote:“Engineers find and solve problems through the engineering design process. Humans are engineers, but so are animals, and today we will learn from animal engineers.”

  1. Introduce the engineering design process: Think, Make, Try (TMT)
  2. Introduce hummingbirds as animal engineers
  3. Show students real nest exhibit item for hummingbirds and book(s) about animal nests and use of natural and recycled materials
  4. Show how birds build nests to protect their young from weather hazards and from predators

B.  Stations or Challenge Time in Small Groups (40 min)

TEACHER NOTE: Design Prompt: “Let’s take on the role of animal engineers as we build nests that will protect eggs from extreme rainy weather or predators”

  1. THINK station – butcher paper down on the table, do one together at the carpet talking through ideas, materials, adding labels
  2. MAKE station – natural materials, craft materials, some larger cardboard, recycled materials such as milk cartons, and pizza boxes. Upper grades, can only access 10 materials. The teacher may unlock more after the initial lesson.
  3. TRY station – weather AND predators (chopsticks with decorations) for grades 3-5;
  4. Use 3D-printed eggs that are hummingbird sized, or use polymer clay that is baked for eggs

C.  Closing Whole Group Time (15 min)

Essential Question: What was hard about being an engineer today?

  1. Create chart of “material name/type”, “use”, “feedback” to start discussing physical properties
    • What materials did you use that worked really well for you?
    • What materials did you use that were tricky for you?
    • What was fun about being an engineer?

D.  Feedback/Evaluation

Pass out post-its to all students and ask them to place them on the material, activity area, or portion of the experience that they most enjoyed and want us to keep

A.    Opening Whole Group Time (20 min)

TEACHER NOTE: Tell students “Engineers find and solve problems using tools and materials, as well as the engineering design process. Engineers start by thinking about how to use a new tool safely and they experiment with it and try it out to see what it can do. They also test new materials to learn about their properties in order to determine what works best for solutions and designs. ”

  1. Provide students with definition and use of “tool” in engineering.
  2. Show examples of human-made objects for animals, for example, a 3D printed nest (3D printer).
  3. Model how to make a Birdhouse (materials: hammer, nails, saw).
  4. Ask students to explore other tools and materials to see what they might use on Day 3

B.  Stations or Challenge Time in Small Groups (40 min)

TEACHER NOTE: Activity Prompt: “Today, we will explore both familiar tools and new tools as we learn about different ways in which engineers create solutions for problems. You will have a chance to experiment with new tools and to participate in building one classroom, collaborative project that you will get to keep!”

  1. 3D printer tool station – 3D printer running print of 3D printed nest but at smaller scale; clay and wiki stix are available for students to create 3D sculpture as well.

TEACHER NOTE: Provide tablets so that students can modify existing designs/create new designs related to classroom collaborative birdhouse project. (Student may also want to 3D print a bird model to inhabit the nest or a symbol/sign for the birdhouse).

2. Hammer and nails station – For students who are not ready to use hammers and nails: Let older student practice hammering nails into a tree stump. For younger students, let them practice hammering golf tees into a

TEACHER NOTE: Provide explicit instruction around aligning wood pieces together and hammering at appropriate areas for birdhouse project. Suggestion: Sketch it out first.

3. Miter saw station – wood, foam, corkboard, sticks of different sizes available, practice sawing through different materials.

TEACHER NOTE: Provide explicit instruction around sketching out a drawing of a birdhouse, measuring, cutting wood into those appropriate sized pieces.

4. Weaving station – cardboard/laser cut loom and pliers; demonstrate weaving with little looms and model how to weave with natural materials versus string.

TEACHER NOTE: Add a weaved, platform/hammock-like construction underneath birdhouse to catch baby birds if they fall.

5.Sandpaper station – foam, sponges, other materials that work for this, experimenting with sanding down different materials and seeing the impact.

6. Another material station – look at combination of natural and manmade materials and compare how to manipulate them into shapes; provide sorting and investigation activities like nature studio.

C.  Closing Whole Group Time (15 min)

TEACHER NOTE: On a whiteboard, invite students to give name, description and use of tools from the lesson (be sure they link tool and purpose). Provide images on laminated cards, descriptor words as scaffolds, if necessary.

  1. Select a local animal, then plan and build shelter. Invite students to sketch out differ
  2. As a group, choose one design and create something on a tablet that can be 3D printed overnight to be part of the collaborative solution
    • Use software already available on your tablet
    • If none is available, use software like TinkerCad, SpaceDraw or OnShape
  3. Place large butcher paper strip in the class with a line drawn in the middle. Ask students to draw or write one thing they did from the lesson that was completely new for them. Then, ask them one thing they have done before and really enjoyed doing again during the lesson.

TEACHER NOTE: In preparation for the next day’s program: Provide one “thinking and planning sheet” per student. Ask students to sketch out what they might build using one of the new tools and materials, as well as items used on the previous day. Ask students to determine why they will engineer shelter for animals in our habitat: to protect them from weather; to protect them from predators; or to allow them to continuing living in an urban environment.

A.    Opening Whole Group Time (20 min)

TEACHER NOTE: Tell students: “Engineers can use tools and the engineering design process to solve problems for animals and the environment we all live in. Let’s see how we can do that at our own school and in our own neighborhood.”

  1. TMT review using another type of animal as a model engineer (beyond birds) that makes shelter; maybe look at a beaver and dam OR other local animals.
    • Provide students with real exhibit items that show other ways in which humans design for animals or the environment: animal crossing bridge, bear lockers and trash can covers to prevent raccoons Plan to use different materials.
    • Guided discussion statement: Even if we don’t mean to, we have an impact upon the environment and animals/habitats around us.
    • Students will also discuss how human engineers can design solutions that help animals and the environment create shelters.

TEACHER NOTE: Look at examples of other types of animal that need shelters. Discuss how engineering can help each animal. Then, pick 3-4 local animals that live in distinct local habitats for focus.

B.  Stations or Challenge Time in Small Groups (40 min)

TEACHER NOTE: Design Prompt: “Let’s take on the role of human engineers who use tools and the engineering design process to create shelters for animals in their environments.”

1.) THINK station – butcher paper down on the table; do one together at the carpet talking through ideas, materials, adding labels. Provide explicit prompting around which tools or materials used on previous day make sense for that design.

TEACHER NOTE: Check in with a specific table and discuss similarities and differences in designs between students.

2.) MAKE station – natural materials, craft materials, some larger cardboard, recycled materials such as milk cartons, pizza boxes. Only some of tools from Day 2 will be available (not miter saw or 3D printer) — unless students really want to use them and have a stated reason in doing so.

3.)TRY station –Work with a partner to test out design based on the problem you decided to solve.

C.  Closing Whole Group Time (15 min)

Essential Question: What was hard about being an engineer today?

  1. Create chart of “problem” and “solution” and invite students to explain their designs and how they incorporated tools. Specifically ask students what they learned about nests.
  2. Ask students what tools or materials were used in their designs?
  3. Guided question:
    • How does your design solve the problem we were solving?
    • What was the problem you were trying to solve?Formative Assessment: Leave chart behind with class after taking a photo of it for assessment/records
  4. What was fun about being an engineer?
  5. Ask students to draw a picture of an engineer and label what this engineer is doing/using

More documentation on Facilitation / Procedures: Animal Engineers Program

Standards

NGSS Engineering Design Standards:

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Grade Band 3-5

  • 3–5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 3–5-ETS1-2. 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.
  • 3–5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

Connections to 3–5-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems include:
Fourth Grade: 4-PS3-4

Connections to 3–5-ETS1.B: Designing Solutions to Engineering Problems include:
Fourth Grade: 4-ESS3-2

Connections to 3–5-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution include:
Fourth Grade: 4-PS4-3

Interdependent Relationship in Ecosystems, Animals, Plants, and Environment

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
  • 3-LS1-1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
  • 3-LS2-1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns:

  • Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed and used as evidence.
  • Patterns of change can be used to make predictions

Cause and Effect

  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified.

Common Core English Language Arts

Grade Band 3-5 (Reading Informational Text Standards)

  • RI.3.1.a–d Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.2.a–d Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  •  RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Grade Band 3-5 (Writing Standards)

  • W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
  • W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
  • W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • W.5.9.a,b Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Grade Band 3-5 (Speaking and Listening Standards)

  • SL.2.5 Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SL.3.5 Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.

Common Core Mathematical Practices

  • K.MD.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/”less of” the attribute, and describe the difference.
  • MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • MP.4 Model with mathematics.
  • MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.

Common Core Mathematical Standards

  • 3.MD.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.
  • 3.MD.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units—whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
  • 3.NBT.1-3 Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.
  • 3.NF.1-3 Develop understanding of fractions as numbers.

Digital Fabrication I Can Statements:

  • (S.1) Safety: I can safely conduct myself in a Fab Lab, observe operations and follow general safety protocols under guidance from an instructor.
  • (S.2) Safety: I can operate equipment in a Fab Lab following safety protocols.
  • (DP.2) Design Process: I can design something in a Fab Lab using a specific process under close instructor guidance.
  • (DP.3) Design Process: I can create analog models (e.g. sketches, small physical models, ) to facilitate a design process.
  • (DP.4) Design Process: I can record and share my ideas during a design process to document the learning process (e.g. journal writing, group reviews, etc.).
  • (MO.1) Machine Operation: I can safely observe digital fabrication machine working and describe their operation.
  • (F.3) Fabrication: I can modify pre-designed components and subsequently fabricate the components using one digital fabrication process.
  • (SC.1) Sustainability and Commerce: I use scrap and renewable resources like cardboard first, before using higher cost materials. I understand the cost of various raw materials in the Fab Lab.
  • (CT.1) Critical Thinking: I can use information in a Fab Lab (or through use of digital fabrication tools and processes) to answer questions about the design process.
  • (CT.2) Critical Thinking: I can identify the design problem, investigation, or challenge.
  • (IG.1) Information Gathering: I can use provided information to answer questions about the design process.
  • (PS.1) Proposed Solution: I can explain the effectiveness of a provided solution to a design problem, or a given approach to meet a digital fabrication challenge.
  • (PS.2) Proposed Solution: I can test selected solutions or approaches to meet the challenge of design problem.

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