We will document our experience creating a lesson plan and activities using 3D puzzle pieces on the water cycle for 4th graders. This project is funded by the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship-Community-Based Research (SURF-CBR) program at UW Whitewater. Our team is made up of two students, Amanda (Environmental Sciences major) and Lexii (Psychology major), and two mentors, me, Dr. Prajukti (juk) Bhattacharyya (Geology) and Dr. Ozgur Yavuzcetin (Physics).
The project idea originally came from Amanda. She wanted to work on a project incorporating storytelling in science education. Given her interest in water resources, she wanted the story to cover the “journey of a raindrop through the water cycle.” She and I started brainstorming together, and pretty soon Amanda brought Lexii in. Lexii has already taken a “research Methods” course as part of her Psychology major program, so she was a natural for this project. Once we decided to use puzzle pieces in addition to a story, we had to bring in Dr. Yavuzcetin, who has a 3D printer in his lab. He trained Amanda and Lexii on how to use the printer.
Amanda communicated with the Burlington Area School District, and the teachers and administrators were highly enthusiastic about the project. We started working on a SURF-CBR grant proposal last Spring. These are highly competitive campuswide summer research grants. Amanda and Lexii were one of the three SURF-CBR awards given out this year.
So here’s our story so far… we have managed to create some puzzle pieces and working on drafting out the story and lesson plan for 4th graders. We will document our trials and victories as we figure out how to create the puzzle pieces, the issues that can arise, resources for people who might want to try out their creativity in similar ways, and things like that. The learning activities will be implemented in Burlington Area School District in Fall Semester 2015.