Lesson 2

Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes

Biology Meets Technology / Grade 4 / Fall River, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes, L2

Students think like bioengineers as they match natural objects with technologies that have similar functions. 

Reflection Questions

Jean refers back to the story of Juan Daniel many times throughout this lesson. How do these references help students make sense of the activity they are doing today?

The story provides important background context that helps students build a scaffold for the things they’re doing in the lesson. 

  • As Jean introduces the idea that bioengineers are inspired by nature, she asks specific questions about the items in nature that inspired Juan Daniel’s model membrane. (1:06)
  • When discussing how waxy leaves might have inspired engineers to design raincoats, Jean reviews the fact that water was dripping off the leaves that Juan Daniel saw in the rainforest. (9:01 and 10:12)

What gaps in student background knowledge do you see? What are some ways that these gaps are filled in during the activity?

Some of the objects on the cards are unfamiliar to students. In some cases other students help to fill in knowledge gaps, and in other cases the teacher helps to explain the objects. 

  • One student mentions that he has never seen a hand pollinator or waxy leaves. He then reads the information on the card to help him. (7:33)
  • One girl says that flying squirrels don’t fly, they glide. She serves a “student expert” that helps her group. (7:55)
  • No one in the group knows what a burr is. In this case, the student teacher steps in and provides a definition. (9:22)