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Environmental Explorers


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Keywords: 3D Printers, Action Plans, STEM, Science, Computers
Subject(s): Earth Science, Life Science, Science
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Bethune Academy, Haines City, FL
Planned By: Amanda Bataille
Original Author: Amanda Bataille, Haines City
1) Students are given their driving question, How can I maintain a new pond after a flood in South Africa? They are given this task and told that they must pretend that they are an environmental organization that has been hired. The last step will be to give a presentation about their action plan in order to "sell" it to the Government of South Africa.

2) Students are divided in groups and given a job (either a design team leader, landscape design engineer, botanist, or a zoologist.)

3) Students must first research South Africa. They know that whichever role they have will determine what expert that they will be by the of the research.

4) Students fill out an action plan on how they will maintain the pond after the flood (including a water source to supply water, animals (carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, insects, etc., plants and other living/nonliving things native to the area in South Africa that are needed to have a successful pond.

5)Students will then create a 3D/4D virtual model of their new pond. They must include all living and nonliving things that sets up a successful ecosystem. The students learn to code in order to mimic a real life habitat making the animals and plants move, make sounds, etc.

6)After the students have finished their virtual model they will now create a hands on type model of their ecosystem. They will use recycled materials along with a 3D printer in order to make the items that are needed.

7)The last step of this project is to write their action plan report and present their plan. They must write it as if they are a professional company that has been contracted to set up a successful pond. The students will try to get the Government of South Africa to "buy in" to their plan.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This crosses Reading (research) with Science. The students also use Mathmatics to scale their 3D/4D Virtual Reality program. They will then Engineer their model into a real life model.
Materials: Printers, Portable, Hi-Def Camcorder, Mobile Labs, Slideshow, Animation
Other Items: 3 3D Printers, $300.00 each, total of $900.00