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This article describes a 5E learning cycle lesson in which students explore one aspect of manufactured wood, namely, strength.
If it's engineered, is it wood?
This articles provides students with an intriguing question that their parents may also share, how much of the "wood" we use is straight from the tree and how much is manufactured? Why would altered wood products be more useful in various situations? And it does it by hooking students with a look at skateboards - how and why they are designed the way they are. The article presents a directed inquiry activity but also has suggestions for ways to allow students to take more responsibility for experimental design. While I read it I thought about ways I introduce similar ideas with making towers or bridges from newspaper, and maybe that would be a good introduction to these lessons as well. This could be done with students from intermediate to high school, depending on the course aims and student abilities.
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)
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