I believe 6th grade is the turning point students begin to journey into becoming a more independent student within the elementary school setting. Within my elementary school 6th grade marks the first year of the middle school years (6th-8th). With this gradual release of independence, comes this innocence and excitement to do things their way. For that reason my target group of students will be 6th grade science class. This group will be challenged to think as scientist, engineers and inventors do on a daily basis when approaching challenges they face in life and apply the engineering design process. This habit of mind would carry them throughout middle school and beyond high school.
My ultimate goal of this unit is for students to use an integrated approach to invent or create a solution for a challenge students may face within their daily lives. Making life better would be used as the central component of their invention with a focus on wearable technology. As student journey along this pathway of creativity, they will be guided by the engineering design process. Consistent practice of using the engineering design process promotes thinking as an engineer would, as well as students being immersed in a collaborative environment rich in discourse around design solutions. I feel along the way education has removed creativity from the class. With this project i want to restore creativity, promote curiosity and push students to become deeper thinkers around the idea that they are valuable contributors of within this digital 21st society .
“Learning is fun!”
At the start of my unit, students will explore the innovations from “The Jetson’s”, a cartoon from the 1960’s, and identify how innovative some of the ideas were during that time period. This introduction would be used to introduce the idea of innovation versus invention, as well as help students develop ideas that they feel are challenges to them today. We would begin exploring how inventors, scientist and engineers apply knowledge to create solutions to challenges. These solutions are the basis of product development and consumers purchase these products based on what's relevant to them. But what if….. you (student) designed your own solutions using creativity and innovative thinking as the creators of “The Jetson’s did? Let students begin to see the benefit of shifting from always being consumers to becoming inventors. The engineering design process would be introduced and used to guide the process of their product development. Students understanding of the interconnectedness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math would be developed as students convey how their product (invention) encompasses all components. As they work in their roles as true scientist, engineers and inventors, they would develop an understanding of the type of STEM career that correlates to their work. Their passion for their work would drive their ability to promote or communicate their solution with their peers. This is unit is a natural progression of learning. I want students to enjoy learning and be able to see why it is important to gain and apply knowledge on a daily basis.
Throughout this journey, students will use google tools to document their progress. These google tools will allow them the ability to document collaboration and feedback. As a final product the students will create a “Shark Tank Pitch” for their product (invention) targeting the creator’s of “The Jetsons” to use their product in the upcoming re-release of “The Jetson’s 2025”. The students will then be able to share their product (invention) with their families and inspire them to become inventor too.