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Vertical Maze

Greetings, Double-O-STEM Club Agents! We need you for this important mission. Ameer and Leah need your help with a problem at the community center.

Think about these questions as you watch the video. Write answers in your Double-O STEM Club notebook.

  1. What are the community center directors looking for?
  2. What idea does Ameer like the most?
  3. What details does Leah consider about the new idea? 

 

Image preview of a YouTube video

Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-jegs

After students watch the video, click the activity links below to start this mission.
 
Getting Started
 

In this Vertical Maze case, students will use library resources to complete the following tasks listed below. The learner version of the case can be found using this link.

  • Watch the case introduction video and identify the main character's problem.
  • Research and brainstorm ideas for vertical mazes.
  • Design and develop a vertical maze prototype.
  • Gather feedback throughout the process and incorporate as needed.
  • Reflect on the process, findings, successes, and failures of the prototypes.

Learners will need a place to take notes as they brainstorm and research solutions to the problem. Although questions are presented in the agent section of the online chapter, this course also includes a downloadable handbook for each case with brief activity descriptions, questions, thinking prompts, and white space for taking notes. This is presented as an "agent handbook," as learners are acting as new agents helping the main character with the mission/problem. Librarians may choose to download and print this handbook for learners or have them do it. Alternatively, librarians may decide to have learners type answers on a computer or provide learners with a folder in which to place the printouts or spiral notebook in which to write answers, sketch ideas, etc. 

The following link to the handbook is also available to students in their student version of this book.

Double-O STEM Club Agent Handbook: Vertical Maze

For your convenience, the student version of each activity is located in the "Think," "Create," and "Share & Grow" sections of this book.

Learning Objectives

  • The agent will describe the main problem associated with the presented case.
  • The agent will articulate questions suitable for library research based on identified problems in the case.
  • The agent will determine parameters for what a successful solution to the problem entails in light of the contextual constraints.
  • The agent will use library databases and circulation materials to examine identified research questions.
  • The agent will hypothesize one or more solutions to an identified problem based on findings from conducted library research.
  • The agent will design a vertical maze using knowledge gained from research on simple machines and interactive areas.
  • The agent will develop instruments to collect data regarding identified problems/solutions.
  • The agent will collect, analyze, and reflect on data from developed instruments.
  • The agent will revise work based on analyzed data and feedback.
  • The agent will identify benefits and limitations of their prototype using evaluation criteria.
  • The agent will revise prototypes based on evaluation feedback.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) - Engineering

American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards - Inquiry

  • A.A.1: Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.
  • A.A.2: Learners display curiosity and initiative by recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.
  • A.B.1: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes using evidence to investigate questions.
  • A.B.2: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes devising and implementing a plan to fill knowledge gaps.
  • A.B.3: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.
  • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
  • A.C.3: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes acting on feedback to improve. 
  • A.C.4: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes sharing products with an authentic audience.
  • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

Learning Activities

Think

This activity introduces the community center case with a charge to design a vertical maze. Problems associated with the case involve using available space and safety considerations (as age appropriate). During this activity, Double-O STEM Club agents will identify and describe the main problem presented in the video, discuss possible solutions with peers, formulate research questions based on identified problem(s) and prior knowledge.

Materials

Setup

This activity includes whole class and group discussion. Set up an area that allows the librarian to introduce the case and share examples of vertical mazes via internet websites. Provide agents with notebooks and writing instruments and encourage them to capture ideas (through words and illustrations) as they work on this case. Allow agents to brainstorm problems associated with the case and questions that may require additional research. Capture main ideas on a whiteboard, easel pad, or other medium. Be sure to ask agents if there are aspects of other cases they have completed that might apply in this case.

Agent View

Activity 1: Discussion

Now that you have seen the video, work with other Double-O STEM Club agents to think about the problem and a solution. 

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the main problem?
  • What other problems did you notice?
  • What research questions need to be answered to help you design a solution?

Learning Objectives

  • The agent will describe the main problem associated with the presented case.
  • The agent will articulate questions suitable for library research based on identified problems in the case.

Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering:

  • 3-5 ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes criteria for success and constraints on time, cost, or materials.

American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry:

  • A.A.1: Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.
  • A.A.2: Learners display curiosity and initiative by recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.

During this activity, Double-O STEM Club agents will be introduced to the six types of simple machines (inclined plane, wedge, lever, pulley, screw, and wheel and axle). They will also be introduced to a few examples of these machines (and their combinations) in daily life, and begin researching how these machines can be used to transform the vertical maze into an interactive playground. Encourage agents to think creatively as they consider how simple machines can enhance their vertical maze designs. Share ideas with the larger group.

Materials

  • Simple machine examples (e.g., door stop, screw, a hinged door, scissors, stapler, jar with lid, window blinds). You might also look at playground examples (e.g., slides, teeter-totter, swing, merry-go-round)
  • Computers with internet connections
  • Agent notebooks to capture ideas and document information
  • Library catalogue and databases
  • Tool to capture discussion ideas (computer with LCD projector or easel pad)

Setup

This activity includes group discussion and individual research. Prior to the lesson, set up an area that allows for whole class and small group discussion. Introduce simple machines (and their examples) in this area. If available, a document camera (or tablet connected to an LCD projector) may help agents visualize these examples. Setup tools to capture ideas discussed in this area (easel pad, computer-based notes). During this activity, agents will use library resources to research simple machines. Have internet-enabled computers available for their use to search library catalogues and databases nearby the discussion area.

Agent View

Activity 2: Simple Machines Research

Research how the 6 types of simple machines (inclined plane, wedge, lever, pulley, screw, and wheel and axle) can be used to create interactive spaces in the vertical maze. Be sure to take notes and share them with other Double-O STEM Club agents.

Guiding Questions:

  • Where should you find the information?
  • What search terms would help you find the best information?
  • How do you know your sources are good? 

Learning Objectives

  • The agent will recognize and describe the function of six simple machines: inclined plane, wedge, lever, pulley, screw, and wheel and axle.
  • The agent will articulate questions suitable for library research based on identified problems in the case.
  • The agent will use library databases and circulation materials to examine identified research questions.
  • The agent will combine simple machines to design interactive features for inclusion in their vertical maze.

Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

  • 3-5 ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes criteria for success and constraints on time, cost, or materials

American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

  • A.A.1: Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.
  • A.B.1: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes using evidence to investigate questions.
  • A.B.2: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes devising and implementing a plan to fill knowledge gaps.
  • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

In small groups, Double-O STEM Club agents will research the primary problems related to types of mazes and maze safety. Based on their research, they should generate ideas for a solution. Agents will show and discuss their findings, identify problems or points of focus, and make recommendations about how to proceed. 

Materials

  • Research gathered from previous steps
  • Computer with LCD projector
  • Agent notebook to record ideas
  • Presentation software or easel pad
  • Library circulation materials associated with this topic

Setup

This activity includes individual and group discussion. Prior to the lesson, set up a seating arrangement that allows for whole and small group discussion around a hands-on activity. Provide agents with their research results from the research activities either in printouts or on a computer. Group members can use the handout questions to guide their thinking.  

Agent View

Activity 3: Maze Research

It is time to analyze the data from your research. Write down your ideas.

Guiding Questions:

  • What did you learn about mazes?
  • What do you need to consider regarding safety?
  • What ideas do you have for creating interactive spaces?
  • Based on your library research, what do you recommend for the vertical maze design? 

Learning Objectives

  • The agent will describe the main problem associated with the presented case.
  • The agent will combine simple machines to design interactive features for inclusion in their vertical maze.
  • The agent will use library databases and circulation materials to examine identified research questions.

Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

  • 3-5 ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes criteria for success and constraints on time, cost, or materials

American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

  • A.B.1: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes using evidence to investigate questions.
  • A.B.2: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes devising and implementing a plan to fill knowledge gaps.
  • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.
  • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.

Vertical mazes can be enhanced by adding interactive areas within the maze. Interactive ideas are limited by agent's imaginations but may include ball runs, sliding doors, inclined planes, rotating floors, levers, and so forth. During this activity, Double-O STEM Club agents will use their creative energies and prior library research to brainstorm and design one or more interactive areas for their maze. Encourage agents to have fun with the activity. What would interest them? What experience might someone have as they complete the maze? What features will make their designed spaces interesting? What materials will they use? Have agents present their ideas to the group for feedback and improvement. 

Materials

  • Example mazes to get creative energies flowing
  • Learning notebooks
  • Writing instruments (of various colors and types)
  • Sketch paper (may also be agent notebooks)
  • Scissors
  • Graph paper or engineering paper (or computer equivalent)
  • Document camera, camera, or tool to capture designs to share
  • Computer with LCD projector and/or easel pad

Setup

Set up a space where individuals and/or small groups have room to brainstorm and illustrate their ideas. While setting up the space, also ensure that groups can come together easily for whole group presentations and discussions regarding design ideas, safety features, materials, and so forth. This means including presentation tools (e.g., computer with LCD projector, easel pad).

Agent View

Activity 4: Interactive Areas Design

Use library resources to research interactive areas for mazes. Use what you learned in the last section about simple machines to see how you could incorporate them into the vertical maze to makes some interactions for visitors. However, have fun with the activity. 

Guiding Questions:

  • What would interest you?
  • What experience might someone have as they complete the maze?
  • What features will make your designed spaces interesting?
  • What materials will you use?

Learning Objectives

  • The agent will determine parameters for what a successful solution to the problem entails in light of the contextual constraints.
  • Based on findings from conducted library research, the agent will hypothesize one or more solutions to an identified problem in the case.
  • Agents will design one or more interactive features for use in the community center.

Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

  • 3-5 ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes criteria for success and constraints on time, cost, or materials
  • 3-5-ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions for a problem and compare constraints and success criteria.

American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

  • A.B.3: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.
  • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
  • A.C.3: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes acting on feedback to improve. 
  • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

Now that the Double-O STEM Club agents have analyzed their research findings about mazes and simple machines, they will use this information to design an evaluation checklist for interactive spaces. A draft evaluation checklist or rubric (of 8-12 items) will help agents know what they should strive to accomplish as they develop and test prototypes. At a minimum, evaluation criteria should emphasize use of simple machines.

Materials

  • Note taking tools for each agent (e.g., notebook, pencil, computer)
  • Resources to capture brainstorm/survey ideas and questions (e.g., easel pad, computer with LCD projector)

Setup

Set up a seating arrangement that allows for whole-class and small group discussion and focuses attention on the tools used to capture agent ideas. 

Agent View

Activity 5: Prototype Design Criteria

Now that you have analyzed your research findings about mazes and simple machines, use this information to start thinking about design criteria for an interactive space. Don't worry about cost or practicality.

Guiding Questions:

  • How should learners use simple machines in the interactive space?
  • What role should creativity play in your design process?
  • What design constraints should you consider (size, space, materials, etc.)?
  • How challenging should your space be? Should there be different levels of difficulty?

Learning Objectives

  • Describe problems and possible solutions related to making the interactive space.
  • Develop a list of criteria to help you design the interactive space. 

Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

  • 3-5-ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

    American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

    • A.A.1: Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.
    • A.B.2: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes devising and implementing a plan to fill knowledge gaps.
    • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

    During this activity, Double-O STEM Club agents will combine creative energies with the knowledge gained from library research to design a scale drawing of their vertical maze. How many levels will it have? How will individuals reach those levels? Try to make varied paths for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. Have agents begin with a rough sketch of their design. Have agents present their work to others and seek feedback to improve. When agents are satisfied with their designs, create a scale model with engineering paper or computer software.

    Materials

    • Example mazes to get creative energies flowing
    • Learning notebooks
    • Writing instruments (of various colors and types)
    • Sketch paper (may also be agent notebooks)
    • Scissors
    • Graph paper or engineering paper (or computer equivalent)
    • Document camera, camera, or tool to capture designs to share
    • Computer with LCD projector and/or easel pad

    Setup

    Set up a space where individuals and/or small groups have room to brainstorm and illustrate their ideas. While setting up the space, also ensure that groups can come together easily for whole group presentations and discussions regarding design ideas, safety features, materials, and so forth. This means including presentation tools (e.g., computer with LCD projector, easel pad).

    Agent View

    Activity 6: Maze Schematic

    Use your creative energies and the knowledge gained from your library research to design a scale drawing of your vertical maze. Begin with a rough sketch of your design. Present your work to other agents and seek feedback to improve. When you're satisfied with your designs, create a scale model with engineering paper or computer software.

    Guiding Questions:

    • How many levels will it have?
    • How will individuals reach those levels?
    • Can you make varied paths for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users? Try your best. 

    Learning Objectives

    • The agent will determine parameters for what a successful solution to the problem entails in light of the contextual constraints
    • Based on findings from conducted library research, the agent will hypothesize one or more solutions to an identified problem in the case
    • Agents will design a vertical maze for use in the community center

    Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

    American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

    • A.B.2: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes devising and implementing a plan to fill knowledge gaps.
    • A.B.3: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.
    • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
    • A.C.3: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes acting on feedback to improve. 
    • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

    Using the design plans developed in previous activities, agents will build models of interactive areas using resources provided in the library. Once built, they will seek feedback from others on their design, functionality, and so forth. They will use that feedback to refine their models. (see also evaluation below)

    Materials

    • Building set (e.g., Legos (especially technic sets), K’nex, tinker toys, marble tracks, blocks)
    • Craft supplies (e.g., colored paper, cardstock, cardboard, glue, scissors, tape, brads, paper clips)  
    • Camera to document models
    • Agent notebooks

    Setup

    Set up a space where individuals and/or small groups have room to build models. In a central location, include materials that agents can use to construct their models. Also provide one or more cameras that can document construction approaches and design decisions. Ensure that groups can come together easily for whole group presentations and discussions regarding design decisions, safety features, materials, and so forth. This means including presentation tools in the learning space (e.g., computer with LCD projector, easel pad).

    Agent View

    Activity 7: Interactive Areas Prototype

    Put your designs to the test. Present your designs to Double-O STEM Club members who are not in your group, such as library guests or anyone else you can invite from the community. During your presentation, explain your design decisions. Answer any questions they have about the design. Ask them for suggestions on how to improve the design. Be sure to take notes.

    Guiding Questions:

    • What questions did testers ask?
    • What suggestion did they make?
    • If you were to try it again, what would you do?
    • Why would that be a better solution?
    • Do you need more information to design something that would solve the Community Center’s problem? 

    Learning Objectives

    • Agents will recognize and describe the function of six simple machines: inclined plane, wedge, lever, pulley, screw, and wheel and axle.
    • Agents will combine simple machines to design interactive features for inclusion in their vertical maze.
    • The agent will determine parameters for what a successful solution to the problem entails in light of the contextual constraints.
    • Agents will build models of their simple machines using resources available in the after-school setting.

    Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

    • 3-5 ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want that includes criteria for success and constraints on time, cost, or materials.
    • 3-5-ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions for a problem and compare constraints and success criteria.
    • 3-5-ETS1-3 Engineering Design: Plan to carry out fair tests where variables are controlled and failure points considered to improve prototypes.

    American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

    • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
    • A.C.3: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes acting on feedback to improve. 
    • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

    With feedback from others, it is time for Double-O STEM Club agents to revise their designs. Based on the questions and suggestions from their prototype testing presentation, how will they revise? 

    Materials

    • The agents’ designs and/or prototypes
    • Material necessary for revision/rebuilding
    • Agent notebooks to remember ideas
    • Presentation tools as needed (e.g., easel pads, presentation software)

      Setup

      This activity includes individual and group work. Prior to the lesson, set up a space for each individual or group to be able to discuss the results of their design or prototype testing. Agents should review their notes from the testing to guide their revision discussions. They should be given time and resources to make any revisions to their design. Encourage agents to record their revisions and rationale for each revision based on feedback from the testing stage. Remind them that they will need to justify each design decision.

      Agent View

      Activity 8: Design Revisions

      With feedback from others, it is time for you to revise your design. Based on the questions and suggestions from your prototype testing presentation, how will you revise? 

      Guiding Questions:

      • What did you learn from the testing process?
      • How will you revise your designs after getting feedback from others?

      Learning Objectives

      • The agent will collect, analyze, and reflect on data from developed instruments.
      • The agent will revise work based on analyzed data and feedback.
      • The agent will identify benefits and limitations of their prototype using evaluation criteria.

      Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

      American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

      • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
      • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

      Near the end of this case, agents will showcase their best prototype and the design decisions/ideas, and tests that led them to their solution. Then have agents describe their maze, the design decisions they used to develop it, how testing and reflection improved their product, and how they would continue to perfect the model if given the opportunity. Use this session to focus on celebrating accomplishments and creative thinking as well as completing a final reflection on the case.

      Materials

      • Copies of agent prototypes
      • Photographs and video captured from prior sessions
      • Agent notebooks to remember ideas and further reflect
      • Presentation tools (e.g., easel pads, presentation software)
      • Celebration Materials (e.g., party noise makers, confetti, banners)
      • Computers for agents to develop presentations (as applicable)
      • LCD projector (as applicable) to project presentations

        Setup

        This activity includes individual and group discussion. Prior to the lesson, set up a seating arrangement that allows for whole and small group discussion around group presentations. Make sure to decorate the presentation space with celebration materials. Provide agents with their notebooks, photographs and videos of prototypes, and a copy of their best prototype. Also provide tools for groups to develop a short presentation about their work.

        Agent View

        Activity 9: Showcase and Reflection

        Good job, agents! I know I could count on you to solve the Community Center’s vertical maze problem. Now it is time to share your designs. As a group, you will present your revised prototype and your design decisions.

        Guiding Questions:

        • Why did you make the package the way you did?
        • How did you improve the design based on your testing?

        Learning Objectives

        • The agent will describe the main problem associated with the presented case.
        • The agent will determine parameters for what a successful solution to the problem/opportunity entails in light of the contextual constraints.
        • The agent will identify benefits and limitations of their prototype.
        • The agent will design a vertical maze for use in the community center.

        Next Generation Science Standards - Engineering

        American Association of School Librarians Standards - Inquiry

        • A.C.1: Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes interacting with content presented by others.
        • A.D.1-4: Learners participate in an ongoing inquiry-based process by continually seeking knowledge, engaging in sustained inquiry, enacting new understanding through real-world connections, and using reflection to guide informed decisions.

        Celebration

        Fantastic vertical maze and interactive area designs, agents! Watch the video below to wrap up this Double-O STEM Club mission.

        Image preview of a YouTube video

        Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-jegs