STEM NGSS Science Vs Engineering Card Sort, Close Reading & Graphic Organizer


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This card sort is a perfect scaffold or front-load for a STEM project. I use this for introducing my students to my STEM Roller Coasters lab to help them understand the differences and similarities between science and engineering.

I print 8 “Science Vs. Engineering Card Sort” PDF’s, cut them into individual cards. Each set of cards go into a small zip lock bag that are accompanied with the 3 categories “Science, Engineering and Both.” I then put the 3 categories in sheet protectors. So each group will have the three category headings (Science, Engineering and Both) and a zip-lock bag with the mixed up cards.

I print one “Engineering Design Process Graphic Organizer & Venn Diagram” per student and then I then print a class set of the “Close Reading Engineering Design Process.”

We first do a “popcorn” reading for the “Close Reading Engineering Design Process.” Then I show the students “The Engineering Process: Crash Course Kids #12.2” on YouTube. As they watch that video clip they fill in the “Engineering Design Process Graphic Organizer.” The young lady in the video tends to speak fast, so you may want to pause the video or play it twice for the students to catch up. I then put the key up on my screen and we discuss the graphic organizer. I then play “What is Engineering?” clip that’s on the bottom of the close reading for reinforcement.

When we are discussing, I have students take out the cards. I tell them they cannot spread them out all over the table. I have one person from each group read one card at a time aloud. This creates discussion and less chaos. Ideally you’d want them to get the sorting correct on the first try, however let them get them wrong and discuss the rationale for the way they sorted the cards. When everyone is done, I put the key up on the screen, we discuss why they had difficulties sorting them correctly, addressed misconceptions and then they can sort them correctly.

This is when they fill in the Venn Diagram on the back of the graphic Organizer.

The card sort, YouTube clips and the chart take approximately 50-60 minutes.

This resource includes the following:

-35 Cards with the 3 different categories (Science, Engineering, Both)

-Card Sort Key

-Detailed Teacher Notes

-Close Reading with YouTube links for deeper connections

-Cloze Notes/Graphic Organizer with YouTube links for deeper connections

-Key for Cloze Notes/Graphic Organizer

This Activity discusses how engineers use the following NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (SEP):

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Developing and Using ModelsPlanning and Carrying Out InvestigationsAnalyzing and Interpreting DataUsing Mathematics and Computational ThinkingConstructing Explanations and Designing SolutionsEngaging in Argument from EvidenceObtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

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