able to impart a sense of urgency in the need to understand scientific
concepts to effectively be able to solve their problems.
After our students are grouped according to interests and have had time
to explore their issue, they will spend a day and a half with experts from
the respective fields. This task force will work with volunteers, parents,
and the greater community to bring in engineers, environmental
scientists, chemists, biologists, physicists, computer scientists, and other
experts to work with our 10th graders. The goal here is twofold: first, to
provide mentors to students and access to different role models, and
second, to help them understand the complexity of their issue. It is our
intention that students interact with people who have direct connections
to the integration of STEM in the workplace and go beyond the typical
research project. During this time, our students will examine current
solutions to their chosen problems and begin prototyping changes and
extended solutions with their respective experts. It is the advice of this
task force that the students are the creators and risk takers in this
grouping and the expert takes the role of advisor, giving suggestions and
providing insight, but never making final decisions.
Their final project will be a 3 – 4 minute video that showcases their
prototype and all students will be able to view and learn from their peers
work from the past two and half weeks in a gallery walk on the last day.
The gallery walk provides students with the ability to present without
pressure, to receive feedback on their work, and to engage with other
topics they did not explore. It complements the non-competitive
environment of this unit and continues the theme of increased buy-in for
the need to be STEM literate. While many projects end in a prototype
that is tangible, these prototypes should not necessarily be materialized.
They may come in the form of ideas, combinations of solutions, drawings,
designs, or connections between existing technology and new
applications. In other words, we are not seeking to see a cardboard
prototype, but rather one that is rooted in science and that requires an
Our goal with this unit is to expose all of our students to the engineering
design process within science, engage them in meaningful content that