Lesson 4

Thinking Inside the Box: Designing Plant Packages

Designing a Plant Package / Grade 4 / Winthrop, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Thinking Inside the Box: Designing Plant Packages, L4

Students focus on the package engineering problem of meeting the needs of a plant product and the consumer as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their own plant packages. 

Reflection Questions

How does Rosemary structure student progress through the steps of the Engineering Design Process (EDP)?

Rosemary uses the EDP handouts provided in the teacher guide to help her present and describe important features of each step.

  • At the beginning of the lesson, Rosemary’s students use the first handout to summarize what they have learned during the Ask step of the EDP. (0:55)
  • Using the Imagine Step handout, Rosemary introduces and explains the role of brainstorming and contrasts it with the goals of planning. (1:28)
  • Using the Plan page, students are forced to compromise and combine ideas into a single solution. (3:01)
  • Before they create, Rosemary reviews the scoring sheet to remind students of the challenge’s criteria and constraints. (4:18)
  • After presenting their original designs to the class, Rosemary’s students use the Improve page to record potential design changes. (11:32)

How does the group share-out of all ideas help motivate students for the Improve step?

The whole-class sharing of design solutions gets all students thinking about what worked, what didn't work, and what they might do next.

  • By having groups share both their design plan and their final design, Rosemary reinforces the whole EDP, not just the product. This makes the idea of improvement fall naturally into place. (8:44)
  • During the presentation, students gave each other ideas for improvements, so that everyone has ideas of how to begin. (4:03)
  • When asked to evaluate and consider other groups' ideas, students are prompted to reconsider their own designs.