We began our study of technology this year with a big thinking question.
"What is technology?
We brainstormed and webbed out our ideas. Computers, iPhones, and gaming systems dominated our list. When someone added "paperclips," some students disagreed while others began to revise their thinking. Another student suggested that a wagon is an example of technology; now the discussion became really interesting! Ms. Copland pulled out a small wooden jewelry box filled with technology. She held up a staple remover, a glue stick, and a rubber band-all examples of technology. After a "Dynamic Discussion," we decided that technology is anything designed to solve a problem or meet a need, and engineers use the design process to create technology. For our design challenge, We would become teams of engineers and design and build snow shelters.
To prepare for the challenge, we conducted research. We watched "how to" videos and read informational articles.
First each student "engineer" wrote a letter to their design team outlining their ideas for building. Before collaborating, each team exchanged and read letters to ensure that everyone's ideas were heard and considered. Now it was time to get to work. We brainstormed ideas, drafted our designs, then headed outside to build.
Along the way, we thought about what was working well and problem solved our way through challenges. We revised our plans and redesigned as needed. Some groups discovered that engineers design processes as well!