Lesson Plan

Project EQ: The Hoover Tower Commission

Guides students through an engineering design unit that emphasizes science and math concepts.
Thad H. A.
Classroom teacher
Herbert Hoover Middle School
San Francisco, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Math, Science

In this unit students will be able to identify seismically active regions of California and choose a construction site to engineer a seismically safe residential tower. Students' designs must meet specific criteria in order to satify the "client's" requirements for this commercial building project. Students will work in teams of two to work within a proposed budget within which they must determine costs for surveying, permits, building materials, labor, insurance, and taxes. Ultimately, students will learn about designing a structure that is functional and structurally sound. 

Grades 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Memo (Hook)

Students will be introduced to the unit with a very brief Animoto video, followed by a memo that each student will receive through Edmodo accounts. A discussion will follow to clarify objectives, discuss ELOs, redefine project goals and assessments. Once students are clear on tasks and objectives, teams of 2 will read selcted textual materials (iTunesU, USGS.org, etc.). A Google form will be linked through Edmodo accounts to direct and guide teams through research, design, testing, and completion activities. 

2 Research (D.I., G.P)

Using iTunesU, student teams will begin background reading and research of seismic activity, earthquake faults, etc. Gathered data and information will be stored in Google Drive accounts. Students will also be encouraged to save images and graphics that support their research. Google Earth will be employed to find viable locations for constuction sites. 

3 Testing-Independent Practice

Activity: Exploring — Physics models: Construct a test framework

Students will use construction materials provided to build test models in order to gather physics data on engineered framework construction for their tower proposals.

4 Sharing (Wrap up)

Students construct a 3D model of their final designs based on engineering data collected in testing phase of design. Students then finish final proposal to the Hoover Engineering Commission using a presentation app such as Prezi, Keynote, etc. Assessment is conducted using a rubric distributed though Edmodo with an embedded Pages document. Presentations to the "commission" are done in class session with all students present.