Teacher Experience: “Human Ergonomics Engineer” Task for 8th Grade Science & STEM Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
8 th -Grade Science and STEM teacher
Frances Xavier Warde School (IL)
Human Ergonomics Engineer
Here’s What We Did:
As a STEM department, we used a handful of Defined STEM performance tasks to create our curriculum for the class. We took an in-depth look at the wide variety of tasks to choose from, and determined which tasks and products our students would enjoy and learn from the most. We created the curriculum by considering the complexity of the products and if some products could be used to complete the next product, creating a multi-step and multi-faceted project.
For each task, we started with a whole-group activity to give students a broad understanding of what they would be doing to complete the task, and to get them excited about the content. During the Human Ergonomics Engineer task, students pretended to work as specialists in human ergonomics for an international car company. Their goal was to design a driver’s seat that can interact with the steering wheel and pedals in a manner that is very comfortable for the driver. To do this, students needed to consider the angles of the knees, hips, and elbows when driving, so they could provide safety and comfort for drivers of many different heights. For their final products, students had a choice between creating a press release on their new product and findings, providing a scale drawing of their new seat, giving an oral presentation, creating an artist’s rendering of the seat, or making a model.
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
My students really enjoy the tasks and the freedom to create their own products. They have begun relating all the products to real-world scenarios. The students were more motivated by the hands-on activities in which writing and math were not involved. They also thrived when we gave them opportunities to incorporate their iPad technology into the projects. Defined STEM works in my classroom to allow students to create a variety of products that allow them to take on the persona of a career.