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The Emerald Ash is taking over!

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Keywords: Invasive Species, engineering, SCIENCE, STEM
Subject(s): Robotics, Technology, Science
Grades K through 6
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: Johnson Elementary School, Johnson, VT
Planned By: Elizabeth Cass
Original Author: Elizabeth Cass, Johnson
This lesson starts out with students seeing news clips of the destruction that the Emerald Ash Borer is creating in VT and around our country.

Students will work in teams to research and compose a comprehensive presentation using either google slides, posters, Ipad movie trailers, stop motion videos, or something else of their choosing that shows the history of the emerald ash borer and how it came to the US and VT. They will need to discuss who is being impacted by the pest and what that impact is. They will need to speculate what more challenges could occur if the invasion is left to continue. They will use systems thinking to connect current problems with the borer to potential future problems.

Students will then need to use the design process to come up with a solution to the problem. This solution can be a series of actions, a physical invention, or a combination. Students will present their prototypes and take constructive feedback on their solutions in a small group. They will then need to then go back and edit their idea to incorporate feedback and improve the success of their solution. Students will go through the feedback and re build cycle one more time. Once they have finalized their idea, they will present it in front of the class. To create their solutions, students will have access to 3D printers, spheros, circuitry, consumables, and various tools.

To adjust this lesson for younger grades, you can present the research to them and have them engineer a solution with only a brainstorm session and a build session. For kindergarten students, you can even provide them with a set of consumable materials and fake beetles that they then need to remove out of the woods (a cookie sheet with leaves covering it) with their inventions.
Interview Scientists in our area to find out what is being done currently. Publish a piece about what you find out in the school newspaper.
Materials: Whiteboards
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