Lesson 1

Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes

Membranes Storybook / Grade 4 / Fall River, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes, L1

A storybook introduces the engineering challenge and context. In this story, Juan Daniel, a boy from El Salvador, learns about bioengineering as he designs his own model membrane.

Reflection Questions

How does Jean take advantage of the fact that her students each have their own copy of the storybook?

Jean's students make good use of the storybook, referring back to the text for evidence and referencing it as they answer questions about the story.

  • Jean's students attentively read along in their own books as she reads aloud. (5:04)
  • Students refer back to the book to check their ideas as they complete the "What is a Membrane?" handout. (7:12)
  • One student refers back to the book in his hands to help him remember the name of the Engineering Design Process. (12:00)
  • Students look for evidence in the text that support their ideas about how Juan Daniel uses the EDP. (13:12)


Jean stops reading at different points in the story and poses questions to her students. What different types of questions do you see her asking?

Jean asks questions that help to recall prior knowledge, encourage them to make predictions, or push students to key ideas that will come up later on in the unit.

  • Jean asks for predictions when holds up the book cover and says, "Look at the title. What do you think it's about?" (3:30)
  • Jean is eliciting prior knowledge when she asks, "Have you ever seen the skin of a frog? What does it look like?" (4:25)
  • Jean prompts her students evaluate ideas when she asks "Do you think it's important for them to test different materials? Why?" (10:50)