Quick summary: In this lesson, students take part in a hands-on STEM building challenge. Students will follow a simple process, from planning to building a structure, and will then use a redesign phase to improve the structure. The students use STEM planners to work through the design challenge. To make the STEM challenge more interesting, students have limited materials to use in the build, stretching their design and construction skills.
We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.
- Student will understand elements of structural design
- Students will work as part of a team
- Student will develop a design plan
- Student will use a limited amount of materials to make a structure.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Years 3 & 4 Design and Technologies:
- Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)
- Select and use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques and use safe work practices to make designed solutions (ACTDEP016)
- Evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions based on criteria for success developed with guidance and including care for the environment (ACTDEP017)
- Plan a sequence of production steps when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively (ACTDEP018)
Syllabus outcomes: ST2-13MW
General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability.
Cross-curriculum priority: Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia.
Relevant parts of Years 3 & 4 achievement standards:
Students create design solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts. They explain needs or opportunities and evaluate ideas and design solutions against identified criteria for success, including environmental sustainability considerations. They develop and expand design ideas and communicate these using models and drawings including annotations and symbols. Students plan and sequence major steps in design and production. They identify appropriate technologies and techniques and demonstrate safe work practices when producing designed solutions.
Topic: STEM/STEAM, Creative Thinking Science.
Unit of work: STEM Challenges — Primary
Time required: 55 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to low. Teachers will be required to lead and facilitate the STEM design challenge at the start of the lesson. As the session progresses the students take the lead and the teaching role extends to a collaborative facilitator to assist the students in the STEM build.
- Student Worksheet (STEM Planner) – one copy between three or four students
- Butcher’s paper and pencils/markers
- Device capable of presenting images to the class
- Variety of building materials (see Part B, Step 5)
- Buildings of Wonder Presentation.
Related Professional Development: Introduction to Primary STEM.
Keywords: STEM, STEAM, challenge, build, design, collaborative task, teamwork, engineering, bridge, world, wonder, structure.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.