The culminating energy project is introduced and the technical problem solving process is applied to get students started on the project. By the end of the class, students should have a good perspective on what they have already learned and what they still need to learn to complete the project.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- F. Design involves a set of steps, which can be performed in different sequences and repeated as needed. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- G. Brainstorming is a group problem-solving design process in which each person in the group presents his or her ideas in an open forum. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- National Science Education Standards: Science
- Evaluate completed technological designs or products. Students should use criteria relevant to the original purpose or need, consider a variety of factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users or beneficiaries, and develop measures of quality with respect to such criteria and factors; they should also suggest improvements and, for their own products, try proposed modifications. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Identify appropriate problems for technological design. Students should develop their abilities by identifying a specified need, considering its various aspects, and talking to different potential users or beneficiaries. They should appreciate that for some needs, the cultural backgrounds and beliefs of different groups can affect the criteria for a suitable product. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Design a solution or product. Students should make and compare different proposals in the light of the criteria they have selected. They must consider constraints--such as cost, time, trade-offs, and materials needed--and communicate ideas with drawings and simple models. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs, and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Technological solutions have intended benefits and unintended consequences. Some consequences can be predicted, others cannot. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Implement a proposed design. Students should organize materials and other resources, plan their work, make good use of group collaboration where appropriate, choose suitable tools and techniques, and work with appropriate measurement methods to ensure adequate accuracy. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of students' ability to clarify questions and inquiries and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations. Students should develop the ability to identify their questions with scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigation. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. Students should develop the ability to listen to and respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development. (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Make copies of the worksheet, one per student, which includes the energy problem statement.
- Project or draw the problem solving spiral diagram on the board. Discuss what we now know about the nature of the energy problem (limited fossil fuels, over consumption, global warming etc.) and possible solutions (conservation, efficiency, renewable sources). The students have learned about these issues already through the energy choices game and graphing activity.
- Define the goal of this unit: To complete a project to start to address the problems associated with this energy crisis. We certainly cannot expect to solve this entire problem in a few weeks!
- Hand out the worksheets, which includes the energy project description. Goal of today's class is to start to understand the problem and identify what we need to learn soon to complete this project.
- Support the groups by asking probing questions related to what they have recently learned (for example, some of the issues raised in the energy choices game).
- Closure: Have students regroup and share their ideas. Collect worksheets.
Other Related Information
Susan Powers, Jan DeWaters, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2008 Clarkson University
Office of Educational Partnerships, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY
Last modified: October 2, 2015