In this cross curricular full-semester project, students will be looking at the essential question, “How have major discoveries and inventions in science and mathematics impacted humanity and shaped our modern world?” In Humanities, students will learn how to research and compose an APA formatted inquiry paper, focused on answering our essential question; and in Math/Science, students will design, prototype, and refine a physical manifestation of their thesis statement. Inspired by Rube Goldberg, we will be using modern technology (laser cutter, 3-D printer, welder, and wood shop tools) to design and fabricate a complex interconnected machine installation, which presents these major historical events in unique ways. (Get Ready for an EPIC adventure! We are excited to get this project started with you!)
Week 4: Researching Topics
This week, students worked in their project groups to research their topics. Students found, read, annotated, and discussed articles about their topics. In groups, students created timelines of the major events within their topic and assigned subtopics to each group member.
Week 3: Narrowing Down Our Topics
This week, we completed our lists of the inventions and discoveries in each of our 8 categories. We worked in groups, using research from the internet and our classroom library, to narrow our lists down to the most significant inventions and discoveries. These final 30 will guide our group research. We chose:
Language/ Writing Systems
Development of Mathematics
Newton’s Laws of Motion
Properties of Geometry
CNC Prototyping/ building
Genetically Modified Agriculture
Evolution of Commercial Agriculture
Week 2: Unpacking Our Essential Question
What does our essential question really mean? Students went through the question, word by word, to make sure that we all really understand the question that we are trying to answer.
Week 2: Categorizing Artifacts as a Team
After the Mystery Box Challenge, we organized the categories that each 7th grade class came up with into 8 final categories (Health/ Medicine, Transportation, Communication, Engineering and Physics, Mathematics, Weapons and Warfare, Geology/ Earth Science, and Agriculture). Then, we had our whole team of 52 students work together to re-sort all 108 artifacts into those categories, and they did an amazing job! Our next task is to identify the most significant inventions and discoveries within those categories to drive our research.
Week 1: Mystery Box Challenge
In order to start digging into our humanities content, students were given a set of seemingly unconnected pictures to sort through and make sense of. The pictures included objects and events through the history of science. In groups, students acted as archeologists to answer important questions about the artifacts (who might have used this object? how has this artifact shaped the modern world? etc.). As a whole class, students worked together to sort all of the pictures into categories that they created. These categories will drive the topics for our research into our essential question: How have major discoveries and inventions in science and mathematics impacted humanity and shaped our modern world?
Week 1: Ring the Bell Challenge
During our first 3 days of school, students were given the challenge of creating a structure that started at one end of their table and rang a bell at the other end. We used materials that we found in our classrooms and around our homes, and students worked in groups of 3 or 4. Each day, students worked with new groups and were given new challenges to push their design thinking.