Parents, Educators & Engineers

Teacher's Guide

Written especially for middle school teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the Teacher's Guide has 11 activities divided into three units-- force, electricity, and sound-- topics found in nearly every physical science curriculum.

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You may download the entire Design Squad Teacher's Guide PDF (3.2 MB) or in the following sections or jump to the unit you're doing:


Implementation Resources

Resources PDF (1.1MB)
Contents:

  • Covers, including Inside Front (welcome letter) and inside back (credits)
  • Table of Contents (page 1)
  • Introducing the Design Process (pages 2-3)
  • How to Use This Guide (page 4)
  • Using Design Squad Media Resources (page 43)
  • Materials List (page 44)
  • Performance Rubric (page 45)
  • More Design Squad Challenges (page 46)
  • Related Resources (page 47)
  • Education Standards (page 48)

The Design Process

Teach students the design process to help them think creatively about solving a problem.

STEM Education Content Standards

Content Standards PDF (64 K)

The challenges in this guide correspond to the National Science Education Standards, the ITEA National Study of Technology Content Standards, and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Science and Technology/Engineering Standards.


UNIT 1: ELECTRIFYING GAMES

In these three challenges, students explore circuits by designing a pinball-style game with motors and buzzers.

Full Electrifying Games unit

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Unit overview

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Kick Stick challenge

Students build a battery-operated "kick stick" that sends a Ping Pong ball zipping across the floor.

Electric Gamebox challenge

Students invent a pinball-like game where their kick sticks hit a Ping Pong ball into a target that buzzes.

Making It Real: The Electrifying Games Unit

Students connect the unit's science and engineering to their own lives and recognize engineering as a creative profession centered on designing things that matter and improving people's lives.


UNIT 2: SOUNDS GOOD

In these four challenges, students explore sound by making stringed instruments with headphones and then rockin' out.

Full Sounds Good unit

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Unit overview

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String Thing online game challenge

Play String thing
Use String Thing to give students experience manipulating the variables they'll work with in Build a Band. You can also use String Thing at the end of the unit as a culminating activity, a review, or as an assessment of concepts and factors related to sound.


Build a Band challenge

Students build a four-stringed instrument and use it to play a tune.

Headphone Helper challenge

Students add headphones to their instruments to make them easier to hear.

Making It Real: The Sounds Good Unit

Students connect the unit's science and engineering to their own lives and recognize engineering as a creative profession centered on designing things that matter and improving people's lives.


UNIT 3: BREEZY BLIMPS

In these four challenges, students make blimps out of helium-filled balloons to explore Newton's Laws, force, air pressure, and buoyancy.

Full Breezy Blimps unit

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Unit overview

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Sky Floater challenge

Students make a helium-filled balloon hover and then, without touching it, move it around the room by varying air pressure.

Sky Glider challenge

Using two helium-filled balloons, student teams build blimps that travel in a straight path across the room.

Blimp Jet challenge

Students add a jet-propulsion system (i.e., a balloon) so their blimp flies under its own power.

Making It Real: The Breezy Blimps Unit

Students connect the unit's science and engineering to their own lives and recognize engineering as a creative profession centered on designing things that matter and improving people's lives.