June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.928.1 - 24.928.2
Nature-‐Inspired Design: A PictureSTEM Project Curriculum Module (Curriculum Exchange) Description of the ProjectThe PictureSTEM Project is developing an instructional module at each grade level, K-5, whichemploys engineering and literary contexts to integrate science, technology, and mathematicscontent instruction in meaningful and significant ways. These transformative new models forSTEM learning use picture books and an engineering design challenge to provide students withauthentic, contextual activities that engage learners in specific STEM content as well as integrateconcepts across traditional disciplinary boundaries. These curricular units go through anextensive design research cycle to ensure a quality product. These modules have the potential totransform the way literacy and STEM are taught at the elementary level by attending to thelearning goals of all areas.Description of the UnitThis 7-day unit is geared towards the upper elementary grades (4-5). It connects learning in theareas of life science, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and engineering design through 7pairs of literacy and STEM integration activities, each with their own age- and activity-appropriate high-quality trade book.Lesson Literacy Activity STEM Activity1 Book: Students are introduced to the design Nature Got There First: Inventions challenge: A chapter of Engineers without Inspired by Nature Borders has asked the student teams to help Goal: them design a prototype water collection tank Introduce how plants and animals for individual families on Isle Popa in gather water and brainstorm some Panama. The water collection tanks have two biomimicry ideas. parts, a rectangular prism shaped storage container and a nature-inspired top, which collects the rainwater.2 Book: Nets and centimeter cubes are used to For Good Measure: The Ways We develop conceptions of surface area and Say How Much, How Far, How volume in order to better understand the Heavy, How Big, How Old trade-off of materials vs. dimensions and size Goal: for the water storage tank. Connect standard and metric measures.3 Book: Data analysis using rainfall data from Isle Our World of Water: Children and Popa to design the dimensions of the rain Water Around the World storage container. Competing variables of Goal: cost of materials vs. volume are highlighted. Global issues involving water.4 Book: Nine stations explore different advantages What Do You Do When Something that specific adaptations provide. Wants to Eat You? Goal: Learn about animal adaptations.5 The literacy and STEM lessons are integrated by students doing research on specific biomes and the adaptations that plants have developed in order to survive in that biome.6 Book: Plan for design: Biomimicry Students use their background knowledge to Goal: make a plan for the top water collection More background on nature- portion of the tank considering cost, ability inspired design. and efficiency of collecting water, and size of the top, which are competing variables in the design.7 Book: Build a prototype and test design. Then A Cool Drink of Water students share their initial design with the Goal: class before improving and retesting their Discuss how different cultures prototype. collect water.
Moore, T. J., & Tank, K. M. (2014, June), Nature-Inspired Design: A PictureSTEM Project Curriculum Module (Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/22861
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