Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Amie Patchen

    Amie Patchen

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 10:20 a.m.

    What a fun project! I am curious about how you help students master the project specific content knowledge, particularly related to how to use the software and technical content they might not encounter in their other math and science courses. I worked on a project where students used sophisticated modeling tools to solve real-world problems, and one of the challenges we had was helping students learn how to use the tools before they could address the target problems. Did you have any similar challenges? It looked like the students in your video were pretty comfortable with the software and technology. What strategies did you use to help them learn how to use it?

  • Icon for: Jeff Rosen

    Jeff Rosen

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 01:13 p.m.

    Thank you for the comments. It is a fun project and I do understand the growth of knowledge concern with using sophisticated tools. We chose to use a segmented approach that incorporates a stepped procedure to their understanding of the tools. 6th grade we work with drawing and visualization only, 7th grade we then introduce the modeling software and have them work through the model with deliberate steps to acquire the knowledge and finally in 8th grade we have a small suite of video tutorials as refreshers that cover all of the basic functions they would need to design in the software.

  • Icon for: Amie Patchen

    Amie Patchen

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 10:05 a.m.

    Thanks for the reply! The segmented approach makes a lot of sense. Did you find it worked well for the students? Would you make any changes to it if you were doing it again? Also have you written about it anywhere? Could be useful for others working with complicated tools! Thanks!

  • Icon for: N. Newsome

    N. Newsome

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:40 a.m.

    Hi Amie! We are receiving great feedback from our teachers featured in the video in terms of student engagement and understanding. These two teachers, featured in the video, have helped us hone the curriculum a great deal as we expand into our next two middle schools in the 2015-2016 school year. At the moment, Jeff and Roxanne have presented the curriculum at the ITEEA conference, with papers to follow. Our research team is hard at work developing instruments concerning student understanding of the engineering design process, so we will certainly release our work on that front. We are redesigning our website now, though it’s not live just yet, to share all our papers and presentations which will link over from ceismc.gatech.edu soon.

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 10:44 p.m.

    I am curious how much PD and training do you envision a teacher would need to run this with his/her class?

  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 10:36 a.m.

    Good question, Beth. Certainly we’ve done a fair bit of PD with the teachers in the video (5 days in the summers and a couple additional sessions during the school year) and we also provide ongoing support. But really, I think the answer is that it depends on the teacher and their background. We’ve been updating our curriculum materials to make sure they’re clear, and we’re piloting at two more middle schools this fall. That way we should get a better sense of what it takes now that the curriculum is more complete. On the up side, both of the teachers in the video were very new to teaching when we started working with them, and they’ve done awesome!

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 12:07 a.m.

    A very compelling project. It does a wonderful job of incorporating software and tangible making to learn design and engineering skills – key for middle school learning and engagement! I am wondering about the entrepreneurship aspect of these courses. How is each sequence presented to the students so that they are taking ownership of the challenge? Also, are there any opportunities for students to use unexpected or unplanned materials in their designs?

  • Icon for: N. Newsome

    N. Newsome

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:22 a.m.

    Hi Beth! Thanks for your question. At each grade level the students are presented with a challenge that frames their exploration. At the sixth grade level, for example, students explore the engineering design process and entrepreneurial thinking in the context of a carnival. The course begins with students making a sales pitch for a new carnival food stand based on market research. Students then run experiments using a pneumatic catapult as they work to design a new carnival game board with appropriate odds of winning. Then, after some skills development in engineering drawing, they re-design the catapult cradle to change the performance characteristics of their carnival game. Students typically work through the challenges in pairs. We have found that as partners the students take a great deal of ownership over their projects at each grade level. Each team comes up unique solutions to the problem since we frame the challenge in a “market” context, explaining to the students that they don’t want to saturate the market with similar food stands or carnival games. Students are typically informed of design requirements and constrains as the challenge is framed, so unexpected or “surprise” materials are not thrown into the design phase. Students are engaging with materials that might be unexpected at the middle school level, however, from CAD software and LEGO robotics, to the pneumatic catapults.

  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 02:06 p.m.

    On the entrepreneurship side, we also use some Shark Tank videos to motivate the challenges. In addition, we have the students calculate profit based on their anticipated revenues and expenses. We walk them through the calculations using google spreadsheets. In that way, the students have to think a little more broadly about stakeholders and where costs are incurred when running a business.

  • Icon for: Tammy Pirmann

    Tammy Pirmann

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 01:53 p.m.

    How are students chosen for these courses? Is it required, elective, selected for them?

  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 02:02 p.m.

    Hi Tammy! The course is an ‘elective’ in that it is not a curricular requirement, but students are generally assigned to the course (without much choice) at the middle school level.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. Marion Usselman
  2. Principal Research Scientist, AMP-IT-UP co-PI and Project Director
  3. AMP-IT-UP
  4. http://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/amp-it-up
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Roxanne Moore
  2. Research Engineer II
  3. AMP-IT-UP
  4. http://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/amp-it-up
  5. CEISMC at Georgia Tech
  1. N. Newsome
  2. Education Outreach Manager
  3. AMP-IT-UP
  4. http://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/amp-it-up
  5. CEISMC at Georgia Tech
  1. Jeff Rosen
  2. CEISMC Program Director and Co-PI Implementation and Partnerships
  3. AMP-IT-UP
  4. http://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/amp-it-up
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Steven Taylor
  2. Senior Application Developer
  3. AMP-IT-UP
  4. http://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/amp-it-up
  5. CEISMC at Georgia Tech

Advanced Manufacturing & Prototyping Integrated to Unlock Potential (AMP-IT-UP) Curriculum Highlight Featuring Middle School "STEM Innovation and Design" Course
NSF Award #: 1238089

This video highlights a middle school engineering and technology course sequence that promotes the engineering design process, systems thinking, prototype testing, data analysis, entrepreneurship, and data-driven decision making. It features the 6th grade Carnival Tycoon curriculum that casts students in the role of carnival game designers, the 7th grade Flight of Fancy curriculum in which students redesign airplanes to be more comfortable, profitable, and environmentally friendly, and the 8th grade Robot Rescue Challenge in which students use 3D modeling software and 3D printing technologies as they design a rescue robot capable of navigating variable terrain. The curriculum is being designed and implemented in a low-income, rural fringe and depressed manufacturing area of Georgia.