Students explore the physical and psychological effect of stress and tension on human beings. They develop their observing, thinking, writing and teamwork skills by working on a group art project and reporting about it. They learn about the stages of group formation, group dynamics and team member roles that make for effective teams. In the process, they discover how collective action can foster a sense of community support, which can alleviate personal feelings of stress and tension. Note: The literacy activities for the Mechanics unit are based on physical themes that have broad application to our experience in the world — concepts of rhythm, balance, spin, gravity, levity, inertia, momentum, friction, stress and tension.
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
- C. Various relationships exist between technology and other fields of study. (Grades 3 - 5)  ...show
- Students apply skills in analysis, synthesis, evaluation and explanation to their writing and speaking.
- Students make predictions, draw conclusions and analyze what they read, hear and view
- Learn about the stages of group formation, group dynamics, and team member roles that make for effective engineering teams
- Paper and pencils
- Access to the Internet
|Community:||A group of people who live, associate or communicate in the same area, and often share common ties, interests, goals and social rules.|
|Democracy:||Government by the people; the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.|
|Facilitate:||To make easy or easier.|
|Group dynamics:||Understanding the relationships among people in groups and how groups begin, operate and end. (Source: LeadNet Library Database, Michigan State University Extension, http://web2.canr.msu.edu/leadnet/order/glossary.cfm)|
|Hierarchy:||A body of officials organized into successive ranks or grades with each level subordinate to the one above.|
|Interaction:||The process of acting on or with each other.|
|Kinetic:||Of, relating to, or produced by motion.|
|Mediate:||To settle a dispute between two or more parties; to bring about an agreement, a settlement or a compromise.|
|Metaphor:||A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or "All the world's a stage." (Shakespeare)|
|Mural:||A very large image, such as a painting or enlarged photograph, applied directly to a wall or ceiling.|
|Objective:||Something worked toward or striven for; a goal.|
|Teamwork:||Cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal.|
- Stage 1: Forming — Team members are uncertain about the scope of their task and their responsibilities. They are dependent on the leader and busy with routines, such as who does what, when to meet, etc. Generally the team members avoid conflict at this stage. The leader directs.
- Stage 2: Storming — Conflicts emerge. Decisions do not come easily. There is a need to clarify roles and responsibilities. The leader coaches and mediates disputes.
- Stage 3: Norming — The scope of the task is now well-defined. Roles and responsibilities are clear. Having had their arguments, team members understand each other better and can appreciate each other's skills. They are more likely to listen to and support each other. The leader participates.
- Stage 4: Performing — Everyone knows and trusts each other enough to work independently. Roles and responsibilities shift easily according to need. Group morale is high and everyone is equally task-oriented and people-oriented. The energy of the group is fully focused on the task at hand. The leader delegates and stands aside.
- Stage 5: Adjourning — Team members feel good about their accomplishment and are glad to have been part of the group. This is a time for recognition so that individuals may consciously move on. Some members may feel a sense of loss as the team disbands.
- Task Roles — These roles are directed toward the task itself. On this project, these roles could include finding volunteers, fundraising, obtaining materials, making calculations, determining a location, design, construction, painting, reporting, etc.
- Functional Roles — These roles help the team achieve its functional goals and can include researching, planning, information seeking, opinion seeking, progress monitoring, clarifying, pushing decisions, acting as spokesperson for the group, troubleshooting, etc.
- Maintenance Roles — These roles help strengthen the team emotionally and can include encouraging, mediating, setting standards, listening, volunteering for other roles as needed.
- Dysfunctional Roles — Unfortunately, team members sometimes take on roles that interfere with the smooth functioning of the group. Be on the watch for dysfunctional roles such as being overly aggressive, blocking or nit-picking, back stabbing, seeking sympathy, disruptive clowning or joking, blaming, taking all the credit, dominating, and manipulating.
- Students working on a construction project need to take the usual safety precautions, including wearing hardhats and goggles, as necessary. Mural painters need smocks, good ventilation and perhaps eye protection.
- A good preliminary discussion on teamwork should mitigate team conflicts.
- Plan on one 50-minute class to introduce concepts, and additional time for the group project.
- Since internet resources in the References list sometimes disappear, for more project examples, search the Internet using search terms such as: mural project, painting mural, kinetic sculpture projects/presentations, kinetic devices, etc.
Activity Embedded Assessment
- How are the physical forces of stress and strain similar and dissimilar to the physical and psychological stress and strain experienced by human beings? (Answer: Both are ultimately tests of strength, or how well something [or someone] will hold up under pressure. In the case of physical forces, a test of the strength of materials, structure or engineering design. In the case of people, a test of the strength of endurance, flexibility, teamwork, etc.)
- If an engineer was designing a bridge or the roof of your house, how would an understanding of the concepts of stress and strain apply to her/his work? (Possible answers: S/he would need to take into consideration the expected stresses and strains on the materials and structures [such as wind, rain or snow], and design a solution that is strong enough to be safe for a long period of time.)
- Describe examples of stress and strain in your own life. (Answers: Vary with students' experience.)
- How does good teamwork help alleviate stress and strain? (Possible answers: Strength in numbers [many people to complete a task within restraints as compared to one person doing it all], shared responsibilities, many ideas, many different talents, support of each other.)
- Paint an Earth Mural.
- Build a tepee.
- Build a garden tepee.
- Construct a kinetic sculpture.
- Construct and race a kinetic sculpture.
- Build an arch.
- The activity can be scaled through choice of project and degree of complexity, which can be adjusted. For example, the simplified version of a tepee or a garden tepee is not as complex as a Plains Indian-style tepee complete with smoke hole. A kinetic sculpture built to race on land and in water is more difficult to build than a standing sculpture. A mural can be small or large depending on the theme and project budget.
Annual Mini Kinetic Sculpture Races. Corvallis da Vinci Days, Oregon State University Extended Campus. Accessed March 8, 2005. (For all ages) http://www.davinci-days.org/
Art for Philadelphia Kids Program. Updated January 1, 2002. The Ogontz Avenue Art Project. http://www.dougweb.com/art.html Accessed May 21, 2004. (Great story about a community art initiative focused on kids)
Buckingham, Linda. Projection Art for Kids: Murals and Painting Projects for Kids of All Ages: Hartley & Marks, 2002. (Resources for mural painting)
Build an Arch. Greater Cincinnati Science Education Center. http://my.choice.net/~gcsec/labelbuildanarch.htm Accessed May 21, 2004.
Build a Medieval Arch Animation. BBC. Accessed May 21, 2004. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/launch_ani_build_arch.shtml
Chapman, Alan. Bruce Tuckman's 1965 Forming Storming Norming Performing Team-Development Model. www.businessballs.com. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Educational psychologist observed how groups form. In the 1960s he developed an influential model of the four stages of group development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing. In the 1970s he added a fifth stage, Adjourning.) http://www.businessballs.com/tuckmanformingstormingnormingperforming.htm
A Child's Secret Garden: Grow a Backyard Hideaway. Parenthood.com. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Garden teepee) http://topics-az.parenthood.com/articles.html?article_id=2837
Dictionary.com. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Accessed May 15, 2004. (Source of vocabulary definitions, with some adaptation) http://www.dictionary.com
Earth Murals Project. Earth Murals. Accessed May 21, 2004. (The inspiration for this literacy activity. The Earth Murals project is a Global Kids environmental awareness project dedicated to involving children across the globe in the creation of murals that focus on community involvement, as well as taking care of our Earth. The project encourages youth participation in recycling, tree planting, community clean ups, and promotes literacy.)
From Windmills to Whirligigs. Science Museum of Minnesota. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Vollis Simpson's magical kinetic sculpture farm. Not to be missed!) http://www.sci.mus.mn.us/sln/vollis/index/frontvollis.html
Gibson, Cristina B. and Mary E. Zellmer-Bruhn. Metaphors and Meaning: An Intercultural Analysis of the Concept of Teamwork. Administrative Science Quarterly, June 2001. (Background for the Thinking activity) Accessed May 21, 2004. http://web.gsm.uci.edu/~cgibson/Publication%20files/Articles/Metaphors%20and%20Meaning.pdf
Group Dynamics: Basic Nature of Groups and How They Develop. The Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits. (Excellent site. Good overview of the stages of group development and resources for team building. Links to comprehensive material on related topics such as conflict management, group learning, negotiating, etc.) Accessed May 21, 2004. http://www.mapnp.org/library/grp_skll/theory/theory.htm#anchor387149
Hooker, Saralinda. The Art of Construction: Projects and Principles for Beginning Engineers and Architects: Third Edition. Chicago Review Press, 1990. (Award-winning book; good for introducing general principles of construction)
How to Build a Tepee. eHow.com. Accessed May 21, 2004. http://www.ehow.com/how_13450_build-tepee.html
Kid's Guernica, International Children's Peace Mural Exhibition. Panasonic. http://kids-guernica.blogspot.com/ Accessed November 7, 2005.
Kinetic Art. CARTAGE (Central Array of Relayed Transaction for the Advance of General Education). Accessed May 21, 2004. (Background information) http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/Arts/scultpurePlastic/SculptureHistory/European20thCentury/ Constructivistsculpture/KineticArt/KineticArt.htm
Kinetic Sculpture by David C. Roy. Wood that Works. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Website of the brilliant kinetic sculptor, including animations of his works) http://www.woodthatworks.com/index.html
Kinetic Sculpture Racing Links. Updated September 6, 2004. Nifty Links by Ellin Beltz. Accessed November 30, 2004. http://ebeltz.net/niftylinks/ksrlinks.html
LeadNet. Michigan State University Extension. (Resources for community-centered, issue-focused, shared leadership for collective action) Accessed May 21, 2004. http://web2.canr.msu.edu/leadnet/home_page/homepage.htm
Malchiodi, Cathy A. Understanding Children's Drawings. Guilford Press, 1998.
Mobiles / Kinetic Sculpture, Mathew Brand. MIT Media Lab. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Interesting MIT project pitting an "artificial" sculptor [a computer] against a human sculptor) http://xenia.media.mit.edu/~brand/mobiles.html
Murphy, Jo. Mural Creation. Suite University. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Wealth of resources on mural creation) http://www.suite101.com/links.cfm/mural_creation
Ned Kahn Studios. Ned Kahn (artist), Sebastopol, CA. Accessed May 21, 2004. (Remarkably beautiful and mysterious works) http://nedkahn.com/
Paulson, Rachel. Johnny & the Old Oak Tree. Sparta, NJ: Crestmont Publishing, 1995. (Introduces children to lessons on how we have so much trash and landfills and how we can protect our land from being filled with garbage, told through the sweet story and adventure of a boy and his old oak tree. Includes lesson plans and teacher/parent ideas. A wonderful paper-making project using a coffee can and blender takes only minutes. See
Paulson, Rachel. Sir Johnny's Recycling Adventure. Sparta, NJ: Crestmont Publishing, 1999. (Children learn how paper is recycled and turned into new products. Includes practical hands-on recycling demos and ideas for educators. See
Plains Indian Teepee, from the book Wildwood Wisdom, Shelter Publications Online. Shelter Publications, Inc. Accessed July 27, 2004. (Includes a good teepee pattern) http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/www_teepee.html
Roman Arch Project. History for Kids. Accessed May 21, 2004. http://www.historyforkids.org/crafts/rome/arch.htm
Ryan, V. The Stone Arch Bridge. TechnologyStudent.com. Accessed May 21, 2004. http://www.technologystudent.com/struct1/arch1.htm
Seligman, Patricia. Painting Murals: Images, Ideas and Techniques. North Light Books, 1988.
Seton, Ernest Thompson. TeePee Plans 10'. Accessed March 8, 2005. http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/native/skills/teepee.htm
Taufilis, Joanne and Fouad. The Art Miles Mural Project. Accessed September 12, 2006. http://www.the-art-miles-mural-project.org/
Tim Prentice Kinetic Sculpture. Tim Prentice. http://www.timprentice.com/ Accessed May 21, 2004. (Another renowned kinetic sculptor. Large public installations. Click on right for Flash animations of his amazing works. Don't miss his "Museum Talk.")
Jane Evenson, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Denise W. Carlson
© 2004 by Regents of the University of Colorado.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
Last modified: March 27, 2015