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Hello colleagues, I am new to this group and just read the current thread about Critical Thinking...and decided to invite you to participate in a Critical Thinking Classroom-Based Project I have done over the years of my learning career... Enclosed is a simple lesson plan I composed years ago, that I have used successfully across all age groups and subject areas, and involves arts & crafts activities and writing fun. It is part of a curricular unit that includes other pages and pictures etc. But I figured I would start with something you could easily copy and adapt to your own classroom situation... to be continued... Sincerely, Allen Berg firstname.lastname@example.org ps: in a certain sort of funny way, this "Introduction" is a Project-Based Learning invitation to participate in a PBL Project, together as teachers here at Edutopia, to create a resource for you all and to simply have some educational fun... together... ********************************************************************* The Engineering of Everyday Things: Structure and Function ---The Analysis of a Whole and its Parts. Lesson Plan by Allen Berg [Photograph of a ball point pen disassembled: the clear plastic tube of ink, the small inner spring, and the 2 parts of the outer casing with their molded screw connection. ] I am not incurious; I like to look at things, care-fully and understand how they work. Observation and then description are important tools of Science. As you can see from the picture of the pen above, Things have parts that make up the whole. In this lesson, you will choose an object and analyze its structure and function. 1. Name and define the object. (You can check a dictionary.) The definition of an object is often its purpose. 2. Draw a picture of the object as a whole and as its separate parts. 2a. Take digital photographs of the object as a whole and of its various parts. 2b. Advanced students can use free 3-D software to produce computer-generated 3-Dimensional images. (Google’s “Sketch-Up” etc.) 3. Label each part. Describe the material each part is made of. 4. Explain the function of each part and how it is related to the whole object. 5. Look close-up and carefully at the object to find the name of the country where it is made. 6. Evaluate the object: a. Does it do the job it is supposed to do? Rate its performance: poor__ ok__ good__ excellent__ etc. b. What is the object’s durability? How long does it last? Can you repair or replace the parts or do you just throw it away? c. What is its cost? Is this a “fair value”? d. Would you recommend using this object? Why or why not? e. Can you suggest improvements in its design? List and explain your suggestions. Provide a visual image(s) of your improved design. 7. Conclusion: How does this object compare to similar objects, for use? [Example of an “improved design”: the addition of a soft rubbery fingers grip… Photograph of the “improved” pen] 8. Share your Analysis with other students, family, and friends… Be proud that you are a Beginning Engineer… Allen (phineas8888)