Explore the engineering principles and design challenges that surround us in everyday life, and help plan for a better tomorrow. The learning activities and digital resources contained within this online curriculum allow students to explore the concept of urban infrastructure over a five-day period as they work together to design a dream school. Get started today and ignite the STEM spark.
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Interested in professional development options for your educators and camp counselors? Call us at 800-323-9084
Today students will begin exploring urban infrastructure. The focus of the first day is introducing the basic elements and cause and effect relationships involved in urban infrastructure. They will begin by exploring the basic elements of urban infrastructure, such as buildings, bridges, roads, and how they fit together. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Students will also start a week-long Engineering Challenge that they will work on every day throughout the week. Through this project, students will be challenged to think about important environmental factors to take into account when developing a dream school, and will continue to incorporate these factors into the Engineering Challenge. In between, there is a Mind Snack break. Day one wraps up with the daily STEM journal reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.
Infrastructure is the underlying foundation or framework of a system, organization, or location. It is often classified as either “hard” or “soft.” Hard infrastructure includes railroads, bridges, water systems, subway systems, and telecommunications. Soft infrastructure is human capital, or knowledge and skills, along with the schools and training programs that develop it. For example, the editors at a magazine are part of the magazine’s human capital infrastructure, as they provide knowledge and skills to run the magazine. A school of journalism is also part of the soft infrastructure of the magazine business. In general, developed nations have well-planned hard and soft infrastructure. In contrast, developing countries often suffer from inadequate infrastructure. In some extreme cases certain types of infrastructure—sanitation, for example, or schools—may be nonexistent.
Related to infrastructure development, many of the environmental problems we face today are the result of human actions. Mining and burning fossil fuels, clearing land for farming and other kinds of development, and manufacturing and developing industrial products have significant consequences in addition to their intended purposes. Those consequences often prove harmful. Air and water pollution result from a variety of human activities, particularly those that depend on energy generated by the burning of fossil fuels. Deforestation and the elimination of wetlands take away habitats for a great number of organisms. All of these contribute to global warming, which increases the frequency of flooding, droughts, tornadoes, and other extreme weather in various parts of the world.
Methods of conserving our natural resources include protecting habitat, reducing the harm from fossil fuel use, and using land in sustainable ways. Preventing environmental problems is cheaper than cleaning them up after the fact, but it requires the ability to foresee those problems and act on them. To this end, scientists use what they know about the causes of environmental damage, as well as new technologies, to anticipate environmental problems.
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics like distribution of STEM Camp Notebooks.
Display the image of a city. Ask students to identify different types of structures that make up a city (buildings, bridges, etc.). Have a few students share their answers aloud. Share the definition of infrastructure with the group.
Divide the students into small groups of 3-4. Give each group a pack of sticky notes. Challenge each group to come up with as many different structures, or parts of a city’s infrastructure, as they can. For each different structure the group identifies, have them write it on a single sticky note. With the sound muted, show the video segment New York City’s Rock Foundation (3:40) to help trigger more ideas for the students. Give the groups five minutes to come up with as many structures as they can.
Assign each group a portion of the room where they can post their sticky notes on the wall. Challenge the groups to think of the sticky notes they wrote on as bricks and use them to design a building on the wall.
Here are the simple rules: 1) They have five minutes 2) There must be more sticky notes on the base of the building than the top (e.g., 5 sticky notes across the bottom and 1 at the top) 3) The tallest building wins
When time is up determine a winner. Have each group share the different structures they brainstormed.
Then have each student, or group, vote to determine which part(s) of the overall infrastructure are most valuable to them (e.g., hospital, school, etc.).
Tell students that today they will be investigating urban infrastructure, how the environment affects it, and how urban infrastructure affects the environment. Ultimately, they will begin to investigate urban infrastructure at a more macro-level to help them drill down to the micro-level where they will be thinking about and designing a school within their town or city.
Facilitator’s Note: Make a local community connection by sharing additional pictures of infrastructure (bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, etc.) in your, or a nearby, town or city. Add these pictures to the Lesson Presentation resource for day one.
When cities are designed the landscape around the city influences the design and ultimately becomes part of the overall infrastructure. For example, in Pittsburgh, PA there are three rivers that converge and as a result the city has over 400 bridges to allow people and goods to get across these rivers. Show students the video segment Bridges (6:00).
Introduce students to different types of bridges using the reading passage Meet the Bridges and/or allow them to use this as a reference when designing their bridges as part of the Engineering Project.
Break students into groups and distribute materials for the Engineering Project.
Show the video segment Conserving Natural Habitats: The Example of Bluebonnet Swamp, LA (1:39) to introduce students to some of the ways that humans can affect the environment. Ask the students to share how they think urban infrastructure can affect the environment.
Every piece of infrastructure plays a role and serves a need for the inhabitants of a community. There are often multiple options for choosing what type of infrastructure a city truly wants and/or needs. In this virtual lab, the local power company is letting businesses choose their source for electricity. Students investigate “green” sources versus fossil fuel sources as well as the use of energy saving lights; all while keeping the cost as low as possible.
Navigate to Google’s Public Data Website. Under World Development Indicators select Infrastructure. Have students explore the data to see how different types of infrastructure have changed over time. By changing the check marks on the left-hand side of the page, students can see comparisons between countries. By clicking the different icons on the upper right-hand side of the page, students can view different visual representations of this data. Discuss the changes students see in the data.
Have fun with the bridge relay as students work together to cooperate and function as a team. This is essential when they start designing their Dream School.
Creating infrastructure is one thing. Getting rid of it is a different ball game, but someone has to do it. Show one or more of the following video segments to the students and discuss these STEMtastic careers.
Use these prompts to discuss the careers with the students:
Tell students that today they will begin designing the school of their dreams. Ask them to consider the essentials for their dream school. Challenge students to list the five things that their dream school must have. Have them record their list in their STEM Camp notebooks. Share their must-have list as a group.
Show the video The Big Five (5:14) to get students thinking about some of the challenges and solutions for future cities that will help inform their thinking about potential technologies and advancements that may influence their design of a dream school.
Now, have students form teams of 3-4 to begin Phase One of their Dream School design. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
During snack time, have students explore the Innovation Exploration to learn about the science all around them that is part of their everyday lives.
Continue Phase One. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
In their notebooks students should answer the following questions: Based on what we learned about urban infrastructure and how it can affect the environment, in what type of neighborhood do you think your team’s dream school should be located? Why?
As a precursor to Day 2, ask students the following two misconceptions: Do you think that because buildings, bridges, and other structures are made of such strong materials, they can easily withstand earthquakes? Do you think that earthquakes only happen in certain areas, and therefore it is easy to predict them?
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Urban Infrastructure and You Newsletter for them to share with their parents.
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all.
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects: ELA Grade 6 Standard RI:7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. ISTE.NETS.S: ISTE.NETS.S 3 Research and Information Fluency Next Generation Science Standards:
Setting the Stage:
Activity 1: Engineering Project: Crossing the Wendella River (per group)
Recess Activity: Cup Game
Today students will begin exploring how urban infrastructure is affected by geological settings and phenomena. The focus of the second day is the relationship between urban infrastructure and earthquakes. They will begin by exploring earthquake locations, and how to build in earthquake-prone areas. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Then students will be challenged to think about the new important factors they have learned to take into account when developing urban infrastructure, and will incorporate these new factors into their Engineering Challenge. In between, there is a Mind Snack break built in as they work to complete their Engineering Challenge. Day two wraps up with the daily STEM journal reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.
Earthquakes are caused by the stress built up in rocks that make up the crust of the earth. As plates move along the mantle, they collide, move away from each other, and slide past each other at plate boundaries. These motions cause a build up of energy in the crust, and when the energy reaches a threshold, the energy is released as seismic waves or earthquakes. Earthquakes most frequently occur along plate boundaries.
There are three types of plate boundaries: convergent, divergent, and transform. At convergent plate boundaries, continental-continental or oceanic-continental plates move toward each other. An example of a well-known convergent boundary is the Himalayas, where the Indian Plate is colliding with the Eurasian Plate. Divergent plate boundaries describe plates that move away from each other. The most recognizable oceanic-oceanic divergent plate boundary is the Mid Atlantic Ocean Ridge, where the Eurasian Plate is moving away from the North American Plate. The San Andreas Fault in California is the site of a transform boundary, where two continental plates are moving in opposite directions of each other. Frequent earthquakes are a result of this active plate boundary.
Major earthquakes typically cause significant damage to infrastructure and property, including bridges, buildings, and homes. Engineers design structures to minimize the damage caused by earthquakes, particularly in areas where frequent earthquakes occur. When engineers design these structures, they consider materials that are both strong and flexible to withstand the swaying motion resulting from earthquakes.
People can take preventative measures to prepare for an earthquake by gathering and storing supplies and food. Immediately after an earthquake, grocery stores are often closed and food and medical supplies can be in short supply or unavailable. Learning CPR or First Aid or taking an emergency medical training course can help people better tend to those injured during the earthquake.
Although aftershocks and tremors are concerns for people after earthquakes, earthquake epicenters located near an ocean may also have to contend with potential tsunamis—tidal waves resulting from earthquakes that happen underwater. In such places, preventative measures are taken to minimize damage to cities, including buildings, homes and people. In densely populated areas, engineers may build artificial barriers to block out tsunami waves that approach coastlines.
Tell students that today they will be investigating urban infrastructure, and how it is affected by earthquakes. As they deepen their understanding of earthquakes and other geological settings and phenomena they should consider the location of their Dream School and/or the preparations needed based on where they decide to build.
Share the Earthquakes exploration with the students. Explain to students that Earth’s crust is broken into many different pieces called tectonic plates, and that these plates are in constant, albeit very slow motion. This motion, along with the interaction between different tectonic plates, is what causes earthquakes.
Now, navigate to the USGS Real-Time Earthquake Map. Have students explore the map to see where recent earthquakes have occurred. Based on their locations, discuss whether any of these earthquakes may have affected major cities and if their proposed location for their Dream School might be impacted.
Show one or more of these video segments to introduce students to some of the ways that engineers design buildings to withstand earthquakes. Ask the students why these designs are important.
Students working in small groups (3 or 4 students per group) will be challenged to build a variety of structures out of different-sized blocks made of different materials (rigid craft foam, cardboard, wood). Their goal is to determine which combination of blocks produces the most stable structure and the least stable structure in a simulated “earthquake”. Each structure they test should contain exactly three blocks stacked one of top of the other.
Students should consider the following factors when designing their structures:
Follow the activity with a discussion about where the teams have decided to locate their Dream School. Are their schools in an area where they should design and build for earthquakes? Would they consider moving their location or decide to make the necessary adjustments to build for an earthquake?
Location can be everything when it comes to infrastructure development. People move to different towns and cities for a variety of reasons. In this activity, students will develop movements that will coordinate with the song People Move by Lodge McCammon. Using the kinesthetic lectures students will practice their movements and get prepared to record their performance.
Have students listen to the song while reading the lyrics. Repeat as necessary. Then review the Kinesthetic Lectures associated with the song as a whole class in order to learn the content. Here is the full video for your reference. Break the class into five small groups, one group for each part of the song. Have each group perfect their part of the song using the following Kinesthetic Lectures as a guide.
People Move (whole song) People Move – Verse 1 People Move – Verse 2 People Move – Chorus People Move – Bridge
Students are strongly encouraged to be creative by adding to or changing their section of the song using different movements or props that further illustrate the song’s content.
Film it in one-take. Final videos should avoid transitions, digital effects, or editing in order to focus on the content the students have learned. Please make sure you have the appropriate permissions for all students who will appear on camera.
As we continue to work together in our Dream School teams, play the Best Game to help students get to know one another’s talents.
Explore the career of a seismologist. Show students the video segment Seismologist (4:17). Use these prompts to discuss the video with the students:
Continue on to Phase Three. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
Distribute snacks to the students while they interact with the exploration.
Continue on to Phase Four. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
In their notebook students should answer the following questions:
As a precursor to Day 3, ask students the following question: What other geologic factors do you think must be accounted for when designing urban infrastructure?
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Urban Infrastructure and Earthquakes Newsletter for them to share with their parents.
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects:
Next Generation Science Standards:
Today students will continue exploring how urban infrastructure is affected by geological settings and phenomena. The focus of the third day is the relationship between urban infrastructure and erosion. Students will begin by exploring how water causes erosion. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Then students will be challenged to think about the new important factors they have learned to take into account when developing urban infrastructure, and will incorporate these new factors into their Engineering Challenge. In between, there is a Mind Snack break built in as they work to complete the Engineering Challenge. Day three wraps up with the daily STEM journal reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.
Erosion is the process by which rock and soil are removed from a particular location by agents such as flowing water, wind, glaciers, and gravity. It is distinct from other geologic processes such as mechanical or chemical weathering, transportation, and deposition. Weathering is the breakdown of rock, not the removal of rock. Transportation is the movement of eroded rock material by various means, such as wind or water, from one place to another. Deposition occurs when the transported materials are finally laid to rest, usually at a lower elevation, where they can become part of the soil or eventually once again become rock. Weathering, erosion, transportation, and deposition all act together as a part of the rock cycle. These processes help to create, shape, and ultimately destroy many of the landforms on Earth, including canyons, deltas, beaches, caves, glacial craters, plains, and sea cliffs.
It is important to distinguish between the processes of erosion, weathering, transportation, and deposition. Erosion is the removal of rock or soil from where it originally formed, or from where it was later deposited, and weathering is the physical or chemical breakdown of rock. In the case of mechanical weathering, rock breaks down due to forces such as abrasion, ice wedging, or thermal expansion. Chemical weathering occurs when rocks break down by reacting chemically with substances such as water or chemicals from organisms such as lichen. Erosion is distinct from transportation in that, while erosion is the removal of material, transportation is the movement of eroded material to another location. Natural agents such as water or wind transport the eroded material to other places. After rock or soil has been transported, it is deposited in a new location that is at a lower elevation; this deposition is caused by the force of gravity.
The mode of erosion and transportation depends on the slope of the land and the materials of which the land consists. Steeper slopes and more loosely cemented rock materials can produce rock falls and landslides, whereas gentler slopes made of more consolidated materials are more likely to change gradually as materials move down slope in a process known as creep. Landforms that are produced by the combination of erosion, gravity, and transportation by water include landslides, mudslides, glacial lakes, sandy beaches, deltas, and canyons. Note that the terms landslide and mudslide can be used to refer to the transportation event as well as the resulting landform.
Display the animation Erosion. Explain to students that erosion is the process by which sediment is transported from one place to another. Ask students to identify different agents of erosion (e.g. wind, water, gravity, etc.). Generate a list of the answers.
Tell students that today they will be investigating urban infrastructure, how it is affected by erosion, and how urban infrastructure, in turn, affects erosion. Ask students to think about the location of their Dream School and identify which agents of erosion might have an impact on their school site. Encourage them to think about ways to prevent or mitigate erosion around their Dream School.
Assign students to teams to work through this activity that demonstrates the process of erosion and how water shapes and creates landforms.
Show the video segment Urban Development: A Process of Depleting and Replenishing the Land to introduce students to some of the ways that urban development affects erosion. Ask the students to name some other ways that urban development might affect erosion.
In this activity, students investigate methods for reducing the amount of erosion on a steep hiking trail. Students manipulate the variables of slope, surface treatment, and water diverters on a model hillside in order to develop recommendations for reducing erosion on the hiking trail. This activity will help inform the teams as they work on their Dream School project and design measures to reduce erosion around their infrastructure.
Have students use a search engine or online map program, such as Google Maps (click the satellite button in the upper right corner of the map) to find satellite imagery or aerial photography of the area in which they live. Have the students study the images for any signs of erosion, such as large barren areas, rivers or streams that might erode the land, steep slopes or cliffs that might lead to erosion by gravity, etc. Ask the students to analyze how this might affect local communities. Then ask them how some of this erosion might be limited (e.g. planting vegetation on slopes so that roots will hold soil in place).
(Facilitator’s note: Have students explore the website on computers in small groups if possible).
Working as a whole group, or in teams, work through Levels 1 and 2 of the virtual lab to practice incorporating measures to mitigate erosion in a public park. When students have completed the virtual lab, ask the students how they might incorporate similar measures to mitigate erosion in the Dream Schools they are designing.
In preparation for an afternoon of teamwork around the Dream School Engineering Challenge, have fun at recess with the Water Balloon Bottle Race as the students work together to complete the challenge.
Show students one or more of the following video segments from The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works Everywhere program:
Use these prompts to discuss the information with the students:
Continue on to Phase Five where the students will continue to build their Dream School and take special measures to mitigate erosion. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
Distribute snacks to the students while they interact with the Ever-Changing River exploration.
Continue on to Phase Six allowing the students more time to build their Dream Schools. They will have one more block of time dedicated to finalizing the design tomorrow. Then, they will work together on their marketing plan and presentation. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
In their notebooks, students should answer the following question:
As a precursor to Day 4, ask students the following question:
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Urban Infrastructure and Erosion Newsletter for them to share with their parents.
Activity 1: Go with the Flow (per group)
Activity 2: The Trail That Would Fail (per group)
Recess Activity: Water Balloon Bottle Race
Dream School Engineering Challenge (same materials that were distributed on Day Two)
Today students will continue exploring how urban infrastructure is affected by geological settings and phenomena. The focus of the fourth day is the relationship between urban infrastructure and landslides. They will begin by exploring different rock and sediment types and the conditions that cause landslides to occur. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Then students will be challenged to think about the new important factors they have learned to take into account when developing urban infrastructure, and will incorporate these new factors into the Engineering Challenge. In between, there is a Mind Snack break built in as they work to complete their Engineering Challenge. Day four wraps up with the daily STEM journal reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.
It is important to distinguish between the processes of erosion, weathering, transportation, and deposition. Erosion is the removal of rock or soil from where it originally formed, or from where it was later deposited, and weathering is the physical or chemical breakdown of rock. In the case of mechanical weathering, rock breaks down due to forces such as abrasion, ice wedging, or thermal expansion. Chemical weathering occurs when rocks break down by reacting chemically with substances such as water or chemicals from organisms such as lichen. Erosion is distinct from transportation in that, while erosion is the removal of material, transportation is the movement of eroded material to another location. Natural agents such as water or wind transport the eroded material to other places. After rock or soil has been transported, it is deposited in a new location that is at a lower elevation; the force of gravity causes this deposition.
Instruct students to investigate the Exploration Rock and Roll to learn more about the effects of gravity on erosion. Explain to students that during their Dream School planning, it is important to pay attention to both the slope of the land and the type of rock and soil on which the school is built.
You may also choose to use one or both of the reading passages below to help set the stage for today’s focus: Working Against Gravity Landslides and Their Effects
Tell students that today they will be investigating urban infrastructure, and how landslides affect it.
Show the video segment Mass Wasting (1:40) to introduce students to some of the forces behind landslides. Ask the students to name some things to look for when evaluating landslide risk.
In this activity, students will create a model of a sloped hillside using sand, and then they will simulate conditions that can cause a landslide to occur.
Navigate to the USGS Landslide Hazards Program website. Have students read the description about the USGS Landslide Hazards Program. Once students have read the description, have them explore the “Quick Links” on the bottom of the page, particularly the “About Us” and “Preparedness” pages. Give students some time to explore the pages and learn more about landslides and the work that the USGS does.
The object of Balloon Stomp is to pop all the opposing team’s balloons. In order to play, you will need an area with ample space for the players to run around, at least 40 balloons, equally divided into three different colors, a roll of yarn and trash bag to clean up the balloons when the game is finished. Begin the game by dividing the players into three equal teams. Distribute the balloons, one color per team. Each player needs two balloons, one for each leg. Have each player blow up their balloons, tie a knot on the balloon’s end and tie a balloon to each of their ankles or shoes using the yarn. When you say, “go,” the players must stomp and try to pop the other teams’ balloons. The players are not allowed to use their hands and must stay within the confines of the predetermined play area. If a player has both of their balloons popped, the player must sit out the rest of the game. The team that has at least one balloon left intact wins the game.
Navigate to the USGS Landslide Hazards Program “People” page. Have students click on the names to examine the projects, areas of expertise, publications, and professional pages.
Continue on to Phase Seven where the students will finish building the model of their Dream School taking into account what they learned about an area’s subsurface layers, soil, and rock types. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
Distribute snacks to the students while they watch the following video segment: A Look at Sinkholes: Florida’s Most Common Natural Disaster (2:21)
Continue on to Phase Eight where the students will work together to develop a marketing plan for their school. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
In their notebooks, students should answer the following questions:
As a precursor to Day 5, ask students the following questions:
Provide students with today’s newsletter, Urban Infrastructure and Landslides Newsletter for them to share with their parents.
Activity 1: What Lies Beneath? (per group)
Activity 2: Look Out Below! (per group)
Today students will continue exploring how urban infrastructure is affected by geological settings and phenomena. The focus of the fifth day is around their impact on urban infrastructure. They will use coastal urban infrastructure as an example of how their actions can make a difference in changing things global climate change that can increase the dangers of building by the sea. They will begin by exploring the effects of erosion by water and gravity. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested. Day five continues with the daily STEMtastic Career connection followed by the daily STEM journal reflection activity. The day concludes as students are challenged to think about the new important factors they have learned to when marketing their Dream School project as part of the STEMtastic Friday Celebration.
During the day solar radiation heats Earth’s surface. Heat energy from Earth’s surface then radiates outward toward space. Some of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap this heat energy. These gases are called greenhouse gases. They include carbon dioxide and methane. Greenhouse gases are important because they help keep Earth’s climate warm by preventing large amounts of heat energy from being lost to space each night. However, over the last 100 years or so, human activities have led to an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Earth’s average yearly temperature has increased over the same period. The theory of global warming states that the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration as a result of human activity is the cause of Earth’s warming climate.
The human activity with the greatest link to global warming is burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuel burning releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. People burn fossil fuels to meet energy needs such as electricity generation and transportation in gasoline-powered vehicles.
Global warming has had various effects on Earth, including the melting of polar ice, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and changes to ecosystems.
Display the image Wave Hitting a Jetty. Then show students the video segment From By the Sea to Under the Sea: Beach Erosion: Depleting Our Coasts (2:07). Explain to students that there are many risks involved when building a city near the coast.
Tell students that today they will be investigating their impact on urban infrastructure. They will use coastal urban infrastructure as an example of how their actions can affect global climate change which can increase the dangers of building by the sea.
In this activity, students will explore the factors that cause the difference in the power of the water to erode sand.
Reinforce the lessons learned during the hands-on activity the students just completed by using the science simulation to practice incorporating measures to mitigate beach erosion. When students have completed the simulation, ask the students how engineers might incorporate similar measures to mitigate beach erosion in coastal cities where their Dream Schools might be located.
Instruct students to investigate the Exploration About Weather to learn more about the conditions that affect weather. Next, students can view the video segment The Mighty Mississippi Delta Habitat: From Marshes to New Orleans to learn more about the conditions and risk factors that led to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Ask the students to identify some lessons that can be learned from this natural disaster.
Discuss with students the impact they can make on their local communities and beyond through their daily actions and thoughtful planning and design of a infrastructure like their Dream School project. Challenge them to think back to Day Two when they explored the US and Canada Green City Index. Have each team share the big idea that will make their school special. Encourage them to make that a focal point of their marketing plan.
Continue on to Phase Nine where the students will work together to finalize their marketing plan for their Dream School. Click here for Dream School Engineering Challenge.
Introduce students to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge and encourage them to explore the website and consider participating in the challenge during the next school year based on what they have learned this week in Discovery Education STEM Camp.
Have the students break into small groups. Distribute the following materials to each group:
Give groups some time to build sandcastles in their containers (alternatively, students may built their sandcastles outside instead of in the containers). Once students have built their sandcastles, have them use the pitchers of water to experiment with beach erosion. Students can pour the water directly onto the sandcastles, or pour the water into the containers and tilt them back and forth, causing waves.
Show students the following video segments from The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works Everywhere program:
Then navigate to The Nature Conservancy’s “How We Work” page. Have students explore the page, clicking on the links to learn more about the work that the scientists at The Nature Conservancy do, particularly the “Our Priorities” page.
In their notebooks students should answer the following questions:
The final phase of the students’ Engineering Challenge is to present their Dream Schools during the STEMtastic Friday Celebration. Use this time to set up for the STEMtastic Friday Celebration. Rehearse choreography to People Move (from Day Two) if the students will be performing it live for parents/guardians. Have the teams set up their model Dream School projects along with their marketing plan artifacts (digital and/or physical).
Distribute snacks during this time (if applicable).
Provide students with their certificates and today’s newsletter, Your Effect on Infrastructure Newsletter for them to share with their parents.
Activity 1: Water Power!
Recess Activity: Sandcastle Building and Erosion (per group)
Download and share with students this “STEMthusiasm Award”
Help students feel rewarded by printing out and distributing this colorful certficate.
Download ideas for sample digital products students can create to share their learning at the end of STEM Camp.
Daily letters sharing activities from the day and resources to explore at home.
Download STEM Camp logos to use on materials you create.
A daily breakdown of the materials needed for all of the STEM Camp activities.
Use this editable document to share information about your own STEM Camp
Learning opportunities for students will take the form of hands-on activities, reading passages, video segments, interactive simulations, small and large group discussions, as well as individual projects and reflective writing pieces in their STEM journals. In this course, students will design and construct a model city that incorporates each of the different infrastructures they will have studied. Students will also have the opportunity to explore careers related to the urban infrastructure.
There are five modules in this course, each of which includes facilitator’s notes, correlations to appropriate Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a materials list for each activity, inquiry-based activities from which to choose, and suggested projects and journal reflections for students.
The goal of Discovery’s STEM Camp – After School is to build a love of inquiry; there is no expectation of detailed written analysis or assessment in the activities. Understanding can be built through a multitude of experiences along with rich and stimulating discussions about science and engineering concepts and practices.
We have provided some suggestions for guiding student thinking, but not step-by-step instructions. However, to make the modules even more effective, we suggest the following:
We recognize that each camp facilitator has different background knowledge. We have included some background information with each module, along with Web links to additional information. For general information on urban infrastructure, we suggest the following Web sites:
Objectives as well as appropriate core ideas and scientific and engineering practices from the Next Generation Science Standards are listed for each module.
While the activities in Discovery’s STEM Camp – After School Urban Infrastructure are relatively safe, as with any type of inquiry experience, it is important that camp facilitators and students always take proper safety precautions.