I really enjoyed this activity. My class needed a little extra time to grasp the content but afterwards were quickly answering no matter what size building we were building.

In my class we used the engineering design process steps for each part. Students discussed the parts of the process as they progressed to the answer.

When I did this lesson during summer PD, I got pretty frustrated when the solution did not come immediately to mind. I had to actually have a friend break it down on paper for me until I finally got it. I definitely think I will need to float around and help people not to get discouraged and hopefully people in each group will help the slower ones along until the light bulb comes on.

This lesson is a tough one for me to actually get across to some of my students. I do have some great advanced students that will help with this lesson. We have already discussed this.

Focusing on a growth mindset. The idea that we got answers but we arenāt at the best one yet.

By walking around listening to their ideas, I donāt have enough legos but I bought magnets much cheaper alternative, which will help them to visualize the problem

This exercise found me also cheering on my students as they would figure out a solution for their own problem

Using childrenās plastic mega blocks in different colors helps them visualize and be creative with their towers.

The nice thing about this type of lesson is that it promotes friendly competition. All of the students made erroneous guesstimates before arriving at the correct answer, so even though they were on separate teams, there was a camaraderie among all of the students.

I found the kids to be very motivated by the activity and did not need much in the way of re-focusing. I do like the idea of having them illustrate the process on slides because if forces them to think in a linear way about the process. Iāll use that if we ever have trouble staying on a path.

Have them answer the question using the problem solving steps: Understand the problem (what is known, what is unknownā¦)

Weyer ReflectionQuestions.pdf (86.5 KB) WeyerChallenge.pdf (114.1 KB)

Giving them very clear direction will be the key. During the summer PD I was frustrated at the lack of direction so making sure students are aware of everything will keep them on the right track. Having the steps to the problem solving process readily available are also important as well. If the students see those 4 steps posted somewhere they will remember to go through the process. If it isnāt there for them to see, they immediately forget about it.

At the beginning of this lesson students were confused about the purpose. I continued through with the lesson and allowed them to pause and speculate about the purpose in their journals along the way. I received some very creative answers about what this lesson had to do with computer science. In the end the students made several great connections and I believe they learned from the process.

First I would provide clearer instructions compared to those written out in the curriculum. I would also remind them of the rules of building as they experiment with their partner. Finally Iād ask for volunteers to explain and demonstrate their answer for the class.

This may be that activity (that I have one or two of) that I (falsely) tell my students I donāt know what the outcome is but that I do know that there is one. Inevitably, groups will come up with different responses, and I will reassure them that there is one correct answer. This has a tendency for the groups to either (or both) compete or collaborate. Eventually, I āfindā the key to the problem and ārevealā the solution. If there is dissent, it is the organic iquiry that will keep the discussion and activity flowing.

A lot of guess and check and reminding them ānot yetā is okay and to encourage them to keep trying. Itās okay to be wrong, look at the problem from different angles for a resolution.

I will scaffold the problem solving process through he smaller towers of 5 and 10 meters, allowing for more discovery as they move forward. The main part my students seem to struggle with is fully understanding the problem. This is where I will give the most direct focus and begin to release responsibility once the first step is completely understood.

I walk around the classroom and watch as they are trying to figure out the problem. I challenge them if they figure it out sooner than othersā¦ I have found that you donāt jump in and help too early because they get more out of it if they figure it out than being given the answer.