Subject: Problem based Science
Project Name: Design Challenge: Rube Gold Bridge Systems
Room Design: Student configured
Learning Modality: Student Groups of 4-10
Description: The 5th grade has begun their study of systems by continuing to work on their Rube GoldBridge (bridge because it links to the 5th grade bridge unit in humanities and math) structures. The 3 rules of this challenge are; 1) demonstrate work by moving a 75 gram steel ball from point A to point B (change in vector) 2) while bridging two or more forms of energy. The whimsy built into this project is that students design, entirely what A —> B looks like. After watching youtube videos of Rube Goldberg projects, they quickly set out brainstorming cool and challenging paths for the steel ball to encounter. The genuine problem of this challenge emerged when students needed to follow the third rule, 3) there are 5 teams and each team’s structure has to connect (pass the steel ball) to two other teams, creating a system. I am learning that converging on a mental model for this 3rd problem, is not an easy problem for 5th graders to solve. It took hours of debating, iterating, and playing the human knot to get students to work as a team to solve this 3rd problem. In the past few weeks of this project, students have become determined to succeed despite the difficulty of the task, demonstrating the very definition of rigor. As a final authentic assessment for this project the 5th grade will be hosting a table at Maker Faire to share their new knowledge, and pride for a job well done. Come see us in San Mateo on May 18-19, we are project #3301 – Think with Your Hands: The Science of Art.