The students started by designing and constructing a device that would topple 20 paper cups. The students could not cross a line while attempting to topple the cups. As well, the students were challenged to be efficient and use the least amount of materials. The fewer materials used, the more points per cup toppled. After they created their device, they were given time to test and refine. Finally, each group had two minutes to attempt to knock the cups down.
After, the students learned about how water pollution can affect communities. We discussed that some villages in Africa must send people kilometers to get water. We also watched a video showing that even communities in Canada can be affected by poor water quality. The students were challenged to create a water filter from a variety of materials that included gravel, sand, cheesecloth, and cotton balls. The students had to experiment what was the best order to put their materials. There was, however, a catch. Each student group had to randomly select a country. Each country had a different budget- USA had $1000 while Ethiopia only had $20 to work with. As well, the students found out that some of the less prosperous nations also had poorer literacy rates. As such, the instructions how to construct the filter were written in gobbledygook. The students were also not told if they could donate their money or work together, that was allowed to happen spontaneously.
Finally, the students continued their personalized learning time. They were conducting more in-depth research on sustainability and developing the rules and components of their game!