Lesson 1

An Alarming Idea: Designing Alarm Circuits

A Reminder for Emily / Grade 5 / American Canyon, CA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - An Alarming Idea: Designing Alarm Circuits - Lesson 1

A storybook introduces the engineering challenge and context. In this story, Emily, a girl from Australia, learns about electrical engineering as she attempts to design an alarm to remind her when it's time to do her chores.

Reflection Questions

Cerissa pauses at various points in the story and poses questions to her students. What does she achieve with these different types of questions?

Cerissa asks questions that connect the story to her students’ everyday lives, review key points, and assess the experiences students have had with electrical circuits.

  • Cerissa helps her students connect to the feelings of the storybook character Emily when she asks, “How many of you have chores at home?” (0:58) and “How do you feel when you know you were supposed to do something and your parents find out you didn’t?” (2:29)
  • Cerissa asks her students to recall important points in the story when she asks, “What was Emily supposed to do?” (1:51) and “Who are Sarah and Pete?” (2:05)
  • Cerissa does a quick assessment of prior knowledge when she asks, “How many of you have had a chance ever to work with electrical circuits?” (3:09)

What strategies do you see Cerissa use to help her students complete the Engineering Design Process handout?

To make sure students understand her expectations and proceed with confidence, Cerissa breaks the work into several steps.

  • First, Cerissa puts a copy of the worksheet on the overhead projector and models how to thoroughly answer the first two questions with complete sentences. (4:23)
  • Cerissa has groups of students work together to find evidence in the text for the final three steps in the Engineering Design Process. (5:16)
  • Finally, Cerissa brings the whole group back together to review the responses they came up with. (5:36)