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6-8 | Science & Tech | Real World Application or Field Study
Station WPBS in New York
My Classroom Innovation
During the 7th grade year at Carthage students study body systems and their cooperative nature. To introduce the unit I implemented a project based on the news stories highlighting bionic limbs. The centerpiece of the project was a web based approach to information and research. Students would use my personal website, search engines and YouTube to find information and ideas to guide their plan to build a "bionic" hand. The hand had to "pick", "grip" and "roshambo" (or play rock/paper/scissors).
How Students were Engaged
The video story of bionic limbs motivated students to get creative in their solution to the problem. It helped me to frame the challenge as well as guide them in the initial stages of research. Once the students were unleashed motivation and frustration ran high as students wanted to complete the task but found they were lacking certain pieces of information on how hands work, what components are involved and then how they would power the hand. Students demonstrated gains in understanding of joints, bones, tendons and even antagonistic muscle pairs throughout their process. Students used the ideas and research to build their full functional hand prosthesis. Many students diverged from human hand organization to new ideas as well as both over simplifying and over complicating the devices. Students involved parents, other teachers and related professionals alike as they sought to solve the problem.
PBS Program/Content Used
PBS News Hour (Will 'Bionic Bodies' Offer High-Tech Hope to the Disabled?)