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Problem
-
Based Learning

ITEL’s Adventure Planning Guide



Name of Simulation Unit

Grade Level (s)__Grade 8_________________________________

Subject Matter
-

Physical Science Simple Machines “Rube Goldberg project”


Designed and developed by
:

Name___Michele S
eitz_____________________________


Provide a Brief Summary of the Simulation Unit (25
-
35 words):



The students will work in small groups in order to build a “Rube Goldberg” machine. A
“Rube Goldberg” machine is modeled after a famous cartoonist who tried

to make more
challenging ways to accomplish simple tasks, such as pouring something into a bowl or
turning out a light. The students will build one machine, made from many simple
machines working together, to perform their chosen task. The machine is on
ly permitted
to be touched at the “start” and must work independently from that point to achieve the
task.


Unit Details


1.

Choose the Problem

a.

Place a check in front of the description that indicates the source of the
problem:

1.

Current events

2.

A topic, theme,
or central issue from your curriculum
-
the students
will complete this simulation as a culmination activity to their
simple machine unit

3.

Students’ interest and learning characteristics

4.

Informed intuition

5.

Other, please describe


b.

Please provide a 25
-
50 word d
escription of the central problem your students
will explore in this PBL adventure.


The students will explore ways to construct (using mostly household items) and
combine simple machines that will work as a unit to accomplish a simple task at
the end. T
hrough much trial and error, the students will find a combination and
build to complete the task. The students will then try to market their machine by
creating a brochure in Microsoft publisher.


2.

Rationale for the Problem

a.

Briefly describe (25
-
50 words) t
he problem statement or guiding question that
lies at the foundation of this unit.

How do I design a machine to complete the simple task it has been chosen to do?
How will I overcome the obstacles of size limitation (must fit through a doorway),
specific
simple machines used, work cooperatively and participatory within my
group, and be able to find household items for my project in order to not exceed
money limit of $15.00? How will I design my “Rube Goldberg” and chose a task
that is and will look market
able in my brochure?




3.

Develop Problem Documents and Problem Statement

a.

Briefly describe (25
-
50 words) the problem statement or guiding question that
lies at the foundation of this unit.

How do I design a machine to complete the simple task it has been cho
sen to do?
How will I overcome the obstacles of size limitation (must fit through a doorway),
specific simple machines used, work cooperatively and participatory within my
group, and be able to find household items for my project in order to not exceed
mo
ney limit of $15.00? How will I design my “Rube Goldberg” and chose a task
that is and will look marketable in my brochure?



b.

List the documents the students will be working with.

Internet
-
The student will explore websites for design/machine ideas

Microso
ft paint
-

The student will sketch their ideas for approval before beginning.

Microsoft Excel/Word
-
The student will need to keep a journal of their progress,
including dates of every meeting, attendance, progress or no progress made and
pictures of the mach
ine at that point.

Scanner
-
The students will need to scan pictures into their brochure

Microsoft Publisher
-
The student will create a brochure to try to sell their machine.






4.

Decide Students’ Role and Situation

The decision you make below about whet
her students will play single or
multiple roles will likely be influenced by a variety of factors, including: the
learning goals of the unit, the age of the students, and the time you are
dedicating to the unit. For example, a third
-
grade teacher desiring
to spend
one day on a PBL adventure may find it easier to have all students play the
same role. In contrast, a high school teacher desiring to spend several
instructional periods and have students experience the complexity inherent in
multiple perspectives

may choose to have students to play different roles.


A.

In this Simulation Unit,

1.

Students will assume the same role (Rube Goldberg
inventors)

2.

Role Name
-
Rube Goldberg Inventors

3.

Brief Description
-
Each student is taking an active roll in
creating a machine mad
e up of simple machines to perform a
simple task.




OR

B.

Students will assume different roles (for example scientists, state
senators, farmers)



Group


Role Name

Brief Description (12
-
15 words)

1

2

3

4

5

6


C.

Explain how the simulation addresses each of the
following elements
of an effective simulation: content, context, and process fidelity. In so
doing, tell about the obstacles, decisions and choices, and any other
Dodge criteria listed on your Simulation Planning: Version 2 Sheet.

This simulation addresses

context fidelity because the students will be
creating a machine to perform a task that they, and their audience,
probably perform every day. Things such as pouring something into a
bowl, turning off a light, putting toothpaste on a toothbrush, etc… The
students will chose a simple task for their machine to perform. Since their
trying to market this machine in a brochure, they will want to choose or
decide on a task that is relevant to them as well as their audience.

This simulation addresses content f
idelity because almost all of their
items in their machine should be household items that they literally find
around their house. Things such as: wood, string, paper towel rolls,
cardboard, etc… If they choose to buy any materials they are not to
exceed $
15.00. The only pre
-
made item aloud in their machine is a pre
-
made pulley.

Furthermore, this simulation addresses process fidelity because the
interactions and operations the students will be encountering model real
world encounters. The building of this

machine is a huge process. First,
choosing reliable partners. Second, choosing a task. Then, drawing a
sketch and probably having to modify it several times. Next, gathering
materials, and finally the actual building. The students will build this
mac
hine through a trial and error process. As they try to build their simple
machines and put them together one simple machine at a time. The
student will constantly be trying new materials and combinations of
machines side by side until everything will wor
k together independently.
The student is also taking the risk that even when the machine is built and
has been working properly, some random and unexpected event could
happen. Their machines could malfunction during the class
demonstration. Will they be

prepared to fix problems that arise?

The students will overcome many obstacles in the building process
besides trial and error such as: having the correct number of machines,
having required machines, only be able to initially start machine and
letting t
he machine work independently thereafter, size limitations,
teamwork, money limit if they choose to buy any materials, and the
machine must last for a certain amount time.

Of course the students will also be continuously challenging
themselves to exceed th
e requirements, which would result in more points.
For example the students could exceed the time limit the machine runs for,
have extra machines in their Rube Goldberg, or build a machine that
performs two tasks simultaneously! The students are awarded
intrinsically
for this machine. It is part of their grade but also the best working
machines will be asked to be displayed at Rube Goldberg night in
February where the community comes and the students are able to show
off and demonstrate their machines.
Also, the students brochures will be
passed around to students on another team and they will vote for the
machine they would most likely buy.



5A.

Determine Learning Outcomes

In the space provided below, state the major instructional objectives for your

Simulation Unit. Remember when possible, use overt behavioral verbs such
as describe, judge, or compare as opposed to covert verbs such as know or
understand. To save space, begin each learning outcome with TSWBAT (The
student will be able to ….). To supp
ort this process, consult such tools as:

1.

your district’s course of study,

2.

ISTE’s NETS Standards for Students (Technology Standards) or
Ohio Technology Standards that I gave you.


Configure this chart in any way that will help you organize your units. Ad
d
more rows, if needed.




Learning Outcome

Curriculum
Standards
and

Technology
Standards


(8
TH

GRADE)

1

TSWBAT

The student will be able to identify different
simple machines and their uses. (Application)

Curriculum content
standard

2

TSWBAT

Design and

build a product or create a solution to
a problem given more than two constraints.
(Synthesis)

Science academic
content standards

3

TSWBAT

Evaluate the overall effectiveness of a product
design or solution. (Evaluation)

Science academic
content standard

4

TSWBAT

Design collaborative interactive activities or
projects. (Synthesis)

Academic
Technology content
standards

5

TSWBAT

Disseminate results obtained through
collaborative research projects to a larger
audience. (Sharing information thus far with
class periodically) (Evaluation)

Academic
Technology content
standards

6

TSWBAT

Demonstrate how to use copyright issues when
creating a new product. (The student may get
overall ideas from Rube Goldberg websites but
not copy projects) (Application)

Aca
demic
Technology content
standards

7

TSWBAT

Identify how modeling, testing, evaluating and
modifying are used to transform ideas in practical
solutions. (Evaluation)

Academic
Technology content
standards

8

TSWBAT

Invent a tool to solve a problem. (Synth
esis)

Academic
Technology content
standards


9

TSWBAT

Explain the factors that influence message
and design


Academic
Technology content
standards

10

TSWBAT

Create a brochure using Microsoft Publisher
making sure to utilize correct mechanics,
content, an
d creativity

District expectation
to utilize
technology and
integrate into
curriculum to
enhance learning
for student

11

TSWBAT

Write in direct response to that prompt
demonstrating knowledge of grammar,
mechanics, and usage, as evidenced in part by
the c
apacity to: follow conventions of
punctuation and capitalization, spell words
Language Arts
Academic
Content
Standard


correctly, maintain subject/verb agreement,
choose and use clear language, use standard
forms of verbs and nouns, and demonstrate
the use of appropriate and varied adjectives
(jo
urnaling)


See attached sheet for concept mapping of Technology standards and their use in
this project.


5B. Technology Integration Used to Help Students Achieving Learning Outcomes

Also, although the main technol
ogy
-
enhanced learning focus is the simulation,
identify the uses of technology in your unit by checking the appropriate boxes in
the ADISC chart below. You must
address student diversity
in some manner
with technology. Do not check simulation unless you ar
e using a technology
-
based simulation for the unit.


ADISC MODEL


Used?


Type

Description




A

Technology that supports students and teachers in
adjusting,
adapting, or augmenting

teaching and learning to meet the
needs of individual learners or groups of

learners.

This will be
used to help
organize and
guide
students in
their
journaling
requirements
for the
project.
Using a
chart in
Excel or
Microsoft
word will
help those
uncreative
students or
students
whose weak
points are
writing.

D

Technology that supports students and teachers in
dealing
effectively with data
, including data management,
manipulation, and display.

Using
technology
to
journal will
help
motivate
them and
encourage
them to
succeed.

This project
is great for
students who
don’t
normal
ly do
well in
academics.
This project
is a hands on
inquiry
-
based
project that
will keep
them
constantly on
their toes
and thinking
and trying
new ideas.


I

Technology that supports students and teachers in conducting
inquiry
, including the effective use
of Internet research tools.




S

Technology that supports students and teachers in
simulating

real world phenomena, including the modeling of physical,
economic, and mathematical relationships.

The students
will have an
opportunity
to use
Microsoft
publi
sher to
display their
machines to
others.
Microsoft
Publisher is
a user
friendly and
fun way to


C

Technology that supports students and teachers in
communicating and collaborating
, including the effective
use of multimedia tool
s and online collaboration.

distribute
information.


Varied Learning styles this simulation hits:

Kinesthetic
-
building of project

Visual
-
paint to sketch, Microsoft Publisher design

Audio
-
conversing with peers

Intrapersonal
-
working cooperatively in a group

Mathematical
-
shape and

design of project

Cultural diversity
-
students will be able to do this project without spending money, if the
student can’t provide transportation to meet with partners he/she may work alone


5C. General Pattern of the Simulation

Describe the general patte
rn of the simulation that you have designed.

The general pattern of this simulation is process and trial and error.
The building of this
machine is a huge process. First, choosing reliable partners. Second, choosing a task.
Then, drawing a sketch and p
robably having to modify it several times. Next, gathering
materials, and finally the actual building. The students will build this machine through a
trial and error process. As they try to build their simple machines and put them together
one simple ma
chine at a time. The student will constantly be trying new materials and
combinations of machines side by side until everything will work together independently.

The general pattern of this simulation is process and trial and error.


6.

Scaffolding
the Problem

This important step in the PBL planning process is significant because it is where
you make important decisions about how the PBL learning adventure will unfold,
and over what period of time. When this stage in the planning process is
completed
, you will have the map necessary to guide you in facilitating the unit.


The primary task in this stage is to complete a PBL flow chart or storyboard for
the unit to support you in laying out key
learning
,
teaching
, and
assessment

events. Remember, PBL is

grounded in constructivist learning theory.
Consequently, your original plans may change as the problem unfolds and
students interact with the problem. Nonetheless, having a map at the beginning of
the journey is most helpful. (Even high
-
risk outdoor adve
nturers rarely wander off
on an adventure without a map and compass).


Remember, there are no hard rules about how long a Simulation Unit should be.
Many teachers successfully employ PBL strategies in a single class period, while
others develop units that
may engage students for several days or even weeks.
Depending upon the grade level you teach, you may prefer to think about time in
terms of instructional hours, periods, or days.*Simulation Units should require
approximately 5
-
20 hours of teaching/learnin
g time.


Stage

Hours or Days

Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Events

Meet the problem

2 days

1.

Will technology support this section of the unit?



Technology will support this section because the student
will search an idea of Rube Goldberg’s on the int
ernet.

Identify what
students know
and need to know


1 day

1.

Will technology support this section of the unit?


The students and I will do this brainstorming and
information in the classroom verbally. I will display
Inspiration on the overhead screen to
brainstorm ideas.

Define the
problem


1 day

We will discuss all of the requirements and
questions they have related to their machines.

Gather and share
information


Approximately
10 hrs. to build
machine

Think about and include in the answer as it relate
s to
student roles:

1.

Will research be independent or
collaborative
?

The student will be working in their groups
.


2.

Will you guide students to resources or let them
discover it?

A little of both
-
we will brainstorm ideas for materials
but ultimately they are
on their own.


3.

When and where will the research be conducted?
Most of the construction of the project will be done
outside of the classroom. The sketches and
brochures will be done during class time.


4.

How will technology support this section of the
unit?

They will have to journal their progress using Excel or
Word. Also, their sketch from Microsoft paint must be
approved by me before they start building



Generate
solutions


6 days

Think about and include in the answer as it relates to
student roles:

1.

Wi
ll solutions be proposed by individuals or
groups?

The students will propose or demonstrate their solution
with their group in class.

2.


What format, standards, protocol will you require
students to use in proposing their solutions?

The students will have 3
tries to successfully
demonstrate their machine performing the task to the
class.

3.

How will students present their solutions to the
problem?

The students will demonstrate their machine performing
the task to the class. Also, their brochures from
Microsof
t Publisher will be passed around students in
another class to evaluate.

4.


How will technology support this section of the
unit?

Microsoft Publisher will be used to market their
machines


Determine best fit
of solutions


1 day

1.

What assessment strategies an
d rubrics will you employ
to judge the quality of the proposed solution?
I will use a
rubric for machine design, journal and brochure.

2.

Who will assess the proposed solutions?
I will assess
machine design, journal and brochure, other students will
also asse
ss brochure.

3.

How will you or your students determine the relative
advantages and disadvantages of the alternate solutions?

Although the students have built machines that are
challenging, how will using the machine compare

with
doing the task without?



Pr
esent the
solution


See above
generating
solutions

1.

Once a final solution or package of solutions is
arrived at, how will they be presented and to what
audience? The students will demonstrate their
projects in class to the class. Their brochures will
be pa
ssed around to students on another team who
will evaluate whose machine they would buy.


Debrief the
problem


1 day

1.

Describe the anticipated flow of the debriefing. Base
some of the flow on the information I gave you in
class about effective debriefing (w
hich you then
adapt for your students.)


The students will sit in an open centered circle and
have an open forum. I will ask guiding
questions such as: How does performing the
task with the machine compare to performing
the task without the machine? How
would you
evaluate the overall effectiveness of the
machine? What constraint changes would you
make and why? How has the building of this
machine affected the thinking of your everyday
tasks? the opinion of Rube Goldberg? your
understanding of simple mac
hines?

The students will be required to provide a 1
-
page
reflection paper after the forum of the above
questions.








Identify the resources that support the unit:


Resource/Reference



Description and Location


Microsoft Publisher

Microsoft Excel/Wor
d

Microsoft Paint

Internet
-
www.rubegoldberg.com

Inspiration

Rubrics
-
attached









7.

Develop Performance Assessment

Many traditional forms of assessment can be used as measures of student learning
in a Simulation Unit. However, one hallmark of a quality

PBL adventure is
engaging students in a performance assessment. The design of powerful
performance assessments requires as much creativity as the design of innovative
instructional strategies. Remember, the very best performance assessments are
powerful l
earning experiences as well.



Briefly describe (25
-
100 words) the performance assessment you will use as a capstone
or culminating experience for this Simulation.


The culminating experience for this Simulation is the demonstration of the machine to the

class (or community if selected) and the evaluation of the brochures by other students.
Non
-
paper and pencil assessment allows the students to be more creative, motivated, and
apt to feel they can succeed. Also, by using Rubrics, the students have a con
fident sense
of knowing exactly what is needed and how they are being evaluated on each part before
they begin. It is also a great way for them to see exactly what areas they succeeded or did
not succeed in and why.