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Blog Post
Watch Global Problem Solvers: The Series with students and talk about the value of STEM problem solving, the engineering design process, teamwork, and social entrepreneurship. Global Problem Solvers: The Series is an animated video series from Cisco's Corporate Social Responsibility team. Free and available for online viewing in a browser, GPS: The Series offers two seasons (14 mini-episodes) of exciting STEM-powered content for students. Featuring a team… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
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What would your students do if your town's water supply was cut off due to an equipment failure or natural disaster? Inspired by Global Problem Solvers: The Series, in this lesson plan they will tackle a real-world engineering challenge by building a prototype of a device that can manually pump water during an emergency. They will also think like entrepreneurs and come up with a business plan for how their device could be produced, sold, and used in the real world. This lesson is one of… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
How can technology and the internet help us solve some of the world's most pressing problems? Your students might not be ready to tackle global poverty or world peace, but they can start small by identifying a social problem in their local community. In this lesson plan they will design a solution to a problem of their choice that uses technology. It could be anything from a GPS-enabled dog collar to track lost pets, to an app that notifies local food banks when people have extra fruits and… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
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