Engineering Design: Modeling Solutions to Real World Problems
The Hitchcock Center’s Living Building is an exciting teaching tool for sustainability.
Our building demonstrates how natural systems can inform how we design and build for a healthy planet. The first hour of the field trip is an exploration of the building’s water, waste and energy systems. It is modified to meet the needs of students in Grades 3-8.
In the second hour of the field trip, students participate in a design challenge to solve a human problem. Choose an Engineering and Design Challenge appropriate for your students from the menu below. The STE standards are also given for each challenge:
- Rainwater Capture – Students are presented with a real world problem – a shortage of water. They are challenged to create a model of a roof to capture and store rainwater and snowmelt. They must meet certain criteria and work within the constraints of materials, time and cost. Students will test and compare solutions, and discuss improvements to the model. Standards | Recommended Grades: 3-5
- Water Filtration – Students will be presented with a situation where a human practice has polluted drinking water. They will choose appropriate materials to design and build a water filtration system. Students will compare different systems and discuss improvements to their designs. Standards | Recommended Grades: 3-5
- Energy Investigations – Students are introduced to both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. They generate electricity using a simple generator, solar collectors and mini-wind mills (turbines). There is an emphasis on sustainable technologies and carbon emissions, and making the connection between human activities and climate change. Standards | Recommended Grades: 4, 7, 8
- Wind Energy: The Turbine Design Challenge – Students are introduced to both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. They investigate how wind can generate electricity using fans and small motors. They create and build their own wind turbine, and test their models by measuring electricity generated. Standards | Recommended Grades: 4-6
Please note: This is an indoor field trip and can take place year round.
Download Massachusetts Curriculum Standards for this program.
Program categoriesEarth and Space Sciences, Life Science, Physical Science, Technology/Engineering
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Questions? Please email Helen Ann for more information.