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A Drop of Ink Makes A Million Think! But... "A Design Can Change A Million Lives!"

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Keywords: Research Paper
Subject(s): English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 8
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: Centerville Middle School, Lancaster, PA
Planned By: Mary Ressler
Original Author: Mary Ressler, Lancaster
The Tween Teen Journey: A Drop of Ink Makes A Million Think!
But... "A Design Can Change A Million Lives!"


While a drop of ink makes a million think, understanding design can change lives!This lesson is meant to meet the Common Core skills for writing and connect all content areas to the learning. Research, Writing, Science, Math, Technology and History are all intertwined in this lesson.

1. The ELA Lesson Plan for the Research Paper begins with captivating the tweens curiosity. This will be done by showing students excerpts of catapults in history and the power they held. Depending on the time block of your ELA class, this will vary. I would suggest using approximatley 1-2 example videos of these. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MHJvsXHLy0

After watching the clip of Catapults in history, have students brainstorm how these were made to produce the greatest results. Students will have 15 minutes to work as a group to brainstorm how they believe these were created and what would work best if they were to make one.

3. Tweens will then be told that they will have a competition at the end of research to see which team builds the most powerful catapult. Team work will produce not only collaborative skills but enhance the outcomes of the assignment because students will be motivated to produce the most effective catapult.

4. Intro Activity: Have students research the history of Catapults, via an array of Nonfiction texts. Varied lexile levels will ensure comprehension for all students. My students read 4-6 articles on Catapults.

5. Have students write their research question, hook and notes for their research paper.

6. Have students write their rough draft for their research paper.

7. Finally, have students complete their final draft.

8. Next, have teams create a Catapult!
*This can be done with items found around their homes, your classroom or on a high tech budget.... with a 3-D printer!

You can have them watch this video if they need the support or not! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpLFC_SOpXs
This can range in time from 2-3 days, depending on the minutes in your ELA class. End the research paper with The Catapult Challenge! Their understanding will be now integreated with synthesizing and creating, an incorporation of higher level learning!

10. Have a class period to test the Catapults and video record/photo the results! These results can then be used to analyze the findings even further.

11. Record distances via a camera and/or video recorder and chart the progress of each teams Catapult. Record the materials each team used and analyze the triumphs and or tragedies of each! This DATA can be made into math problems in math class, and in science students can chart their outcomes!

12. ENJOY! LEARN, ENGAGE, CREATE...... The Tween Teen Journey!"

I have included 3 extra filiaments for printing 3-D due to 4 classes that would be making Catapults via a 3-D printer!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson plan is a viable option for all content teachers! It fits into every core content class!
This can be connected to other inventions in history, science and or math!

Materials: Printers, Autism, Cause and Effect
Other Items: 1 Filament for Printing 3-D, $18.50 each, total of $18.50
1 3-D Printer-Walmart, $159.00 each, total of $159.00
1 Filament for Printing 3-D, $18.50 each, total of $18.50
1 Filament for Printing 3-D, $18.50 each, total of $18.50