NGSS science & engineering practices STEAMing ahead at Bird Rock Elementary

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th 2017

Elementary students smiling

5th grade students at Bird Rock Elementary school are out to change the world. Putting their STEAM learning in action, they are using the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting Concepts to solve real world problems.

In this case, the students set out to solve the problems of a small African village in Ethiopia. The students identified several problems including: lack of water due to their geographical location, water sanitation issues, the distance from the water source, water transportation and cultural issues concerning the distribution of labor. It was found that women did the majority of the labor, and often had to travel miles through the desert and mountains for water.

Last year Bird Rock students used the Engineering Design Process to create water filters and simple machines which could transport water from the mountain to the village. This year students did extensive research and decided it would be best to design fog catchers to collect the available moisture carried through the air. This would allow the villagers to collect water close to the village, right out their front doors.

Students created models and prototypes of fog catchers and have been diligently collecting data and recording the data in their STEAM journals. They will analyze their data over a 2-week period and observe how much water their fog catchers will collect, while making adjustments to design and location on a daily basis.


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