The teacher will introduce the lesson by showing multiple dams that have failed over the course of time. See Dams Breaking Compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=990HdxfEB0I
The teacher will define the vocabulary words:
merit- the quality of being particularly good or worthy
claim- an assertion of the truth
problem- a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome
design solution- a solution to a design
impact- coming into forcible contact with another object
reduce- to make smaller or in fewer amounts
dam- built across a body of water slows the movement of water behind it, creates a large reservoir for water supply, decreases erosion
efficacy-the ability to produce a desired or intended result
The students will make flashcards to study the eight terms listed previously to be incorporated into their discussions and reflections about the process of building and testing the dam.
The teacher will guide a class discussion to determine if the students have any experience with flooding in their homes, or been exposed to flooding due to a hurricane.
The teacher will explain to the students that they will soon begin to evaluate the possible problems that may have caused the dams in the video to fail.
The teacher will explain that the students will also design their own dam based on their knowledge of failing dams and what they hypothesize (claim) would be a better solution to preventing the flooding hazard.
The students will take “silent wait time” (10-30 seconds) to think about what may have caused the dams in the video to fail.
Next, the students will write their idea on a Post-it note.
The students will then turn and talk to their elbow partners about what they wrote on their Post-it note.
The teacher will listen to students' elbow partner conversations and will be sure to acknowledge on task thinking, unique ideas, and incorporation of vocabulary taught.
The teacher will prompt students in peer discussions if any students appear to be off task or have trouble conveying ideas.
Finally, the teacher will choose a couple of Post-it notes per table and write the students ideas on chart paper.
The students will be grouped up by the teacher and begin to research different ways to build a dam. Suggested text for research: “Dams and Hydropower”, Idaho Public Television https://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/edsvcs/stem_colloquium_resources/breakout4/Nonfiction_Reading--Dams2.pdf
Students will use internet access with Chromebooks or portable technology devices (such as tablets) to begin researching their ideas on designing and constructing a dam to test.
The teacher will facilitate the research process as needed and ensure all students are on task and using the internet appropriately.
Students will review the supplies and materials to be used by their group.
Students will collaborate with their group members to draw a design of the dam they plan to build and begin to prepare and or modify materials they will be using to construct their dam.
The suggested dam supply materials are as follows: bucket or small plastic storage bin, marshmallows, toothpicks, tape, paper, clay, sticks, mud, string, legos, plastic spoons, popsicle sticks, and sticks.(Students will not be required to use all materials but will not diverge from the list of offered materials for the initial test of their initial dam construction.)
The students will use the group's design drawing to guide the construction process. To build the dam, the students will utilize their supplies and attempt to build a dam in the middle of the container that will keep half the container dry and keep all the water on the other side.
The teacher can use any size container for this project, keeping in mind that the bigger the container, the more water and dam supplies that will be needed.
Once the dams are built, students will test their dams by adding water to one side of the container.
Students will pour water into one side of the pan in order to test the efficacy of the dam as it is proven effective by not allowing water through to the opposing side of the dam.
Students will observe if their dam is successful in holding water.
The teacher will walk around and watch the students as they test and determine the flaws in their dams.
The teacher will ensure students are evaluating their design and discussing how designs could improve.
The teacher will assess the students’ learning of the objectives by using a rubric to guide and score each student’s claim, analysis of materials, evidence supporting the claim, efficacy of the dam test, and conclusion of the test. The rubric used to guide and score the students' learning of the objectives can be found at http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=2698307&.
For early finishers, as an extension, students may exchange supplies in their next attempt on the task if their initial testing fails, but they must attempt to use all supplies selected and determined by the group’s first hypothesis.