engineering unit plan guide
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-Engineering Teaching Strategies Unit Guides

Engineering Unit – Teacher’s Guide

Welcome! This post has been written with the intention of helping you plan an engaging and comprehensive Engineering Unit for your middle school science class. If you’re arriving to this page from somewhere other than the Teachers Pay Teachers site, this is the product that this guide was written for. Here’s how I teach using these resources:

ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS IN THIS ENGINEERING UNIT

  • The Engineering Design Process is a method that is used to solve technological challenges to change and improve products for the way we live.
  • Design is important in the function of an object
  • There is always more than one possible solution to a problem, so it is useful to test and compare designs.

RESOURCES INCLUDED IN THIS ENGINEERING UNIT

TEACH

  • Intro to Engineering Google Slides
    Introduce students to the wonderful world of applied science in the four main fields of engineering: civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical. Some important engineering vocabulary will be touched on as well. This lesson uses the internet as students are given a chance to explore recent developments in all the fields of engineering. Science is relevant!
  • Engineering Design Process Google Slides
    Use this lesson to guide students through the engineering design process, including relevant vocabulary. Both this presentation and the Intro to Engineering presentation are designed to be interactive. You can assign the slides to students to complete, use those slides as chances for whole group or small group discussions, or use interactive technology such as Nearpod or Peardeck. However you decide to structure it, make sure you’re not doing all the talking! Keeping students involved in the lesson will increase their enjoyment and engagement, as well as saving your voice and energy!

ACTIVITIES

  • Spaghetti or Foil Tower Challenge
    I like to start my unit with this fun hook. The spaghetti and marshmallow towers are a fun favorite, but I’ve recently switched to using aluminum foil instead. I distribute about 2 feet of aluminum foil and a bit of tape to each student or group, set a timer, and let them experience the whole engineering process on their own, especially failure. This experience should anchor the students’ learning throughout the rest of the unit.
  • Bill Nye: Inventions Viewing Guide
    What kind of teacher would you be if you didn’t introduce our students to some of the greatest science teachers of our time: Bill Nye and Mrs. Frizzle. Take a 20 minute break while the kids shout “BILL! BILL! BILL!”

PRACTICE

  • Engineering Design Process Guided Reading
    This resource makes a great homework or classwork activity which can be used to review the engineering design process. I really like to use these reading resources in class time to work on scientific literacy and close reading strategies. It’s my opinion that students absolutely need to be reading in every single classroom in order to support literacy standards.
  • Artificial Intelligence Guided Reading
    Computer science is a growing field of engineering and should definitely be addressed in your unit. This resource brings up a lot of modern technology that your students likely use on a daily basis and should generate some interesting discussion about data usage and algorithms.
  • Bioengineering Online Practice
    Use this web based activity to investigate medical engineering. It’s important for students to maintain an open mind about all the different aspects and applications of engineering, and this resource is a great sub plan or silent work station.
  • Inventions Webquest
    Unless you need to save this one for a day off, this webquest is a great follow up to the Bill Nye video. Students will do their own research to discover a variety of inventions from the past and present.
  • Vocab Crossword
    Review key vocabulary with this simple crossword. Work in groups, assign it for homework, or use it for bellwork!
  • Color by Number
    Review key concepts, relax, and decorate your classroom using this color by number activity. This resource makes a great review, and I love having a chance to build relationships while students complete activities that are accessible to all learners.

ASSESSMENT

  • Engineering Formative Quiz
    Perhaps right before beginning their summative project is a good time to quiz the students on their learning so far. This is a quick quiz that shouldn’t take more than half an hour of class time.
  • Engineering Unit Test and Study Guide
    I like to do two summative grades per unit. One performance based and one written. This unit test is designed satisfy that second requirement. Test your students learning and understanding with this test made to cover a variety of question types and levels.

FINAL PROJECT

  • Invention Convention Project (2 weeks)
    The Invention Convention is a crowd favorite at my school and a best seller in my store! In order to truly learn about engineering, students must create! This fun 7 day project takes students through all the steps of designing, planning, and creating their own technology. Daily intro lessons are included (less than 10 mins each), as well as a student booklet that can be used as a daily log. Check out some more of our student work here. Note: I would definitely count this project as a summative grade.

SUGGESTED PACING FOR THIS ENGINEERING UNIT

Week 1: Introduce Engineering

Start your unit with a fun hook using the tower challenge. From there, jump straight into an exploratory lesson with Intro to Engineering. Then, cover the steps of the Engineering Design Process and follow up with a guided reading.
Resources:

Week 2: Inventions & Technology

Next, dive in deeper by allowing students to investigate some famous inventions and the cutting edge of technology in different areas of engineering. Most of these resources can really be used in any order, but I’d start with Bill Nye and the Inventions Webquest to set the scene.
Resources:

Week 3-4: Apply Concepts with the Invention Convention

Now that your students have a solid foundation in the concepts and process of engineering, allow them to become inventors with the Invention Convention! This resource is sure to create some lasting memories.
Resources

Week 5: Review & Assess

Finally, cement your students’ learning using these reviews and assessments.
Resources:


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