Engineer Your World: 

Build a Power Map of Your City/Community

                                    Connected Learning Experiences for the Middle School Classroom


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Summer Learning Association generously funded an opportunity for 3 NYC teachers to  collaborate with members from both Mozilla's Hive NYC Learning Network and the Maker Education Initiative's Maker Corps Program. 

As members of this team, we were given the task of creating activities for Summer Quest sites.  Summer Quest is a program (done with it's 2nd year) that aims to incorporate Connected Learning principles by enriching students’ academic needs with a variety of engaging programs including camping trips, basketball, gaming, and much more!

The middle schools worked under a pilot model called “21st Century Skills Camp” so we wanted to create events that would combine the themes of the participating schools (Designing, Dimensions, Egypt, etc) with 21st Century Skills. In a broad sense, we wanted to make sure we also included:
     a. opportunities for students to infuse their personal styles
      b. the box of supplies given to the Maker Corp team
      c. math/literacy common core connections to the activities and 
      d. Mozilla Webmaker tools as reflection pieces
      e. extension activities for students to take their experience                      home and into their communities.
for Summer  Quest sites in            the Bronx. 

A quick recap of the unit...


TheTask                                                        Click HERE for the task outline.

Engineering and Construction of Structures – Students learn about skyscrapers and bridges and how engineers build them.

Skyscrapers: (1 week)

How does an engineer design and build a skyscraper?

How does a skyscraper stand up?

What factors must engineers consider when designing a skyscraper?

What technological innovations allowed skyscrapers to be built?

Bridges: (1 week)

How does an engineer design and build a bridge? 

How does geometry help engineers build bridges?

What factors must engineers consider when designing a bridge?

What are the different types of bridges?

Why is a Truss bridge sturdy?

What technological innovations aid engineers when they build bridges?

Energy and CircuitsStudents learn about energy and how circuits work by exploring how the work of electrical engineers.

Energy: (1 week)

What is energy and how is it utilized in your everyday life?                                             (Click HERE for the lesson plan.)

Explain the different forms of energy and how we distinguish them.

Explain how one form of energy transforms into another form.                                                                                (Click HERE for the lesson plan.)

How do electrical engineers use energy to create efficiencies for us?

What is an electrical circuit and how does it work?                                                                                                    (Click HERE for the lesson plan.)

Build electrical circuits, parallel and series.  Compare and contrast design and functions.

Final Project
: Build a Power Map of Your City/Community

Students will put all that they have learned during this unit into planning, developing and building their own power map (complete with structures and circuits), which will be assessed as the final performance task for this unit. (1-2 weeks)

LESSON PLAN         
3D Templates
Bridge Designs
Copper Circuit Instructions for making the power map
Circuit Worksheet

Standards Addressed                                        Click HERE for the NGSS.

Common Core

RST.6-8.3 –Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

RST.6-8.4 – Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 and topics.                                                                                  

RST.6-8.9 – Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.                                                                                                                        

RST.6-8.10- By the end of Grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Next Generation Science Standards

Engineering Design                                                                                                                                                                     

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.                                                                                                                                                         

MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.                              

MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


MS-PS3-5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

See our work this summer!

Below are some photos of this unit in action.