Why should I use project based instruction?
There are various advantages to projectbased teaching as opposed to traditional instructional methods. Projects provide a reason and purpose for student learning. A strong driving question is an essential element of ProjectBased Instruction (PBI). As Krajik and Czerniak (2003) discuss, driving questions not only engage the students but also help them develop an integrated understanding of the various concepts being taught. Other advantages to PBI are that students learn in a cooperative setting and through various inquiries. As Bransford et al. argue, “...projectbased science helps students develop integrated, meaningful understandings. Integrated understandings results from the learners building relationships and connections among ideas and blending personal experiences with more formal scientific knowledge.” (as cited in Krajik and Czerniak, 2003, p.33).
TEKS addressed in the lesson:
§112.39. Physics, Beginning with School Year 20102011 (One Credit).
(2) Scientific processes. The student uses a systematic approach to answer scientific laboratory and field investigative questions. The student is expected to:
(E) design and implement investigative procedures, including making observations, asking well defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, identifying variables, selecting appropriate equipment and technology, and evaluating numerical answers for
reasonableness
(H) make measurements with accuracy and precision and record data using scientific notation and International System (SI) units
(I) identify and quantify causes and effects of uncertainties in measured data
(J) organize and evaluate data and make inferences from data, including the use of tables, charts, and graphs
(K) communicate valid conclusions supported by the data through various methods such as lab reports, labeled drawings, graphic
organizers, journals, summaries, oral reports, and technologybased reports
(L) express and manipulate relationships among physical variables quantitatively, including the use of graphs, charts, and equations.
(4) Science concepts. The student knows and applies the laws governing motion in a variety of situations. The student is expected to:
(D) calculate the effect of forces on objects, including the law of inertia, the relationship between force and acceleration, and the
nature of force pairs between objects
(E) develop and interpret freebody force diagrams
§111.39. Algebra I, Adopted 2012 (One Credit).
(1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:
(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace
(B) use a problemsolving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution,
justifying the solution, and evaluating the problemsolving process and the reasonableness of the solution
(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including
mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems
(D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams,
graphs, and language as appropriate
(E) create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas
(F) analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas
(G) display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral
communication
(8) Linear functions. The student formulates systems of linear equations from problem situations, uses a variety of methods to solve them, and analyzes the solutions in terms of the situation. The student is expected to:
(B) solve systems of linear equations using concrete models, graphs, tables, and algebraic methods
§111.41. Geometry, Adopted 2012 (One Credit).
(1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:
(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;
(B) use a problemsolving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problemsolving process and the reasonableness of the solution;
(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;
(D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language as appropriate;
(E) create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;
(F) analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas; and
(G) display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.
(9) Similarity, proof, and trigonometry. The student uses the process skills to understand and apply relationships in right triangles. The student is expected to:
(A) determine the lengths of sides and measures of angles in a right triangle by applying the trigonometric ratios sine, cosine, and tangent to solve problems
§111.42. Precalculus, Adopted 2012 (OneHalf to One Credit).
(4) Number and measure. The student uses process standards in mathematics to apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to
calculate measures in mathematical and realworld problems. The student is expected to:
(E) determine the value of trigonometric ratios of angles and solve problems involving trigonometric ratios in mathematical and real
world problems
§130.362. Concepts of Engineering and Technology (OneHalf to One Credit).
(6) The student thinks critically and applies fundamental principles of system modeling and design to multiple design projects. The student is expected to:
(A) identify and describe the fundamental processes needed for a project, including design and prototype development;
(C) use problemsolving techniques to develop technological solutions;
(D) use consistent units for all measurements and computations
(2) Scientific processes. The student uses a systematic approach to answer scientific laboratory and field investigative questions. The student is expected to:
(E) design and implement investigative procedures, including making observations, asking well defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, identifying variables, selecting appropriate equipment and technology, and evaluating numerical answers for
reasonableness
(H) make measurements with accuracy and precision and record data using scientific notation and International System (SI) units
(I) identify and quantify causes and effects of uncertainties in measured data
(J) organize and evaluate data and make inferences from data, including the use of tables, charts, and graphs
(K) communicate valid conclusions supported by the data through various methods such as lab reports, labeled drawings, graphic
organizers, journals, summaries, oral reports, and technologybased reports
(L) express and manipulate relationships among physical variables quantitatively, including the use of graphs, charts, and equations.
(4) Science concepts. The student knows and applies the laws governing motion in a variety of situations. The student is expected to:
(D) calculate the effect of forces on objects, including the law of inertia, the relationship between force and acceleration, and the
nature of force pairs between objects
(E) develop and interpret freebody force diagrams
§111.39. Algebra I, Adopted 2012 (One Credit).
(1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:
(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace
(B) use a problemsolving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution,
justifying the solution, and evaluating the problemsolving process and the reasonableness of the solution
(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including
mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems
(D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams,
graphs, and language as appropriate
(E) create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas
(F) analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas
(G) display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral
communication
(8) Linear functions. The student formulates systems of linear equations from problem situations, uses a variety of methods to solve them, and analyzes the solutions in terms of the situation. The student is expected to:
(B) solve systems of linear equations using concrete models, graphs, tables, and algebraic methods
§111.41. Geometry, Adopted 2012 (One Credit).
(1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:
(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;
(B) use a problemsolving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problemsolving process and the reasonableness of the solution;
(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;
(D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language as appropriate;
(E) create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;
(F) analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas; and
(G) display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.
(9) Similarity, proof, and trigonometry. The student uses the process skills to understand and apply relationships in right triangles. The student is expected to:
(A) determine the lengths of sides and measures of angles in a right triangle by applying the trigonometric ratios sine, cosine, and tangent to solve problems
§111.42. Precalculus, Adopted 2012 (OneHalf to One Credit).
(4) Number and measure. The student uses process standards in mathematics to apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to
calculate measures in mathematical and realworld problems. The student is expected to:
(E) determine the value of trigonometric ratios of angles and solve problems involving trigonometric ratios in mathematical and real
world problems
§130.362. Concepts of Engineering and Technology (OneHalf to One Credit).
(6) The student thinks critically and applies fundamental principles of system modeling and design to multiple design projects. The student is expected to:
(A) identify and describe the fundamental processes needed for a project, including design and prototype development;
(C) use problemsolving techniques to develop technological solutions;
(D) use consistent units for all measurements and computations
Objectives
At the completion of the project the student will be able to:
 draw and interpret free body diagram including force magnitudes and directions. (Physics 2H, 2K, 4E; Geometry 1D, Geometry 1E; Algebra 1 1D, 1E )
 describe what it means for forces to be in equilibrium and use sum of forces to solve for missing forces on a static point. (Physics 2I, 4D, 4E; Geometry 1D; Algebra 1 1D)
 use trigonometric ratios to calculate the measure of the sides and angles of right triangles as well as understand that trigonometric functions are ratios that are the same similar triangles. (Geometry Algebra 1C, 9A; Geometry 1C; PreCalculus 4A )
 calculate forces on members of a system with an applied force. (Physics 4D; Algebra 1 8B)
 decide what variables (e.g.amount of time the bridge takes to break, magnitudes of forces on the bridge, amount of weight the bridge holds) to measure when experimenting with certain design and describe how to improve the design using reasoning based on evidence. (Concepts of Engineering and Technology 6A, 6C, 6D; Geometry 1A, 1B, 1C, 1F, 1G; Algebra 1A, 1B, 1C, 1F)
Anchor Experience
The anchor event for this lesson is a launch letter provided by the fictional Chairman of Transportation for Austin, TX. The motivation for the project is that the city is providing a grant for a winning bridge design in a competition. This is to motivate the students through competition with classmates and relevance in their location. The driving question that should be the focus of the project overall is "Which bridge design will have the smallest weight to carrying capacity ratio?" The teacher should guide the students through all activities with the focus on this driving question.
