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Day 2: Identify Key Variables

After "messing about" with model parachute materials during Day 1, Goldman brings together teams' disparate experiences with the task by having a discussion of what teams noticed were key design variables in their model chutes. After the discussion, students go back to work. Watch Movie 2 for signs of any impact on groups' discussions about their next steps? Also, compare this discussion with those of two science teachers on Identify Key Variables. Did you identify other variables that these students missed?

Questions for MOVIE 1:
1. Does this teacher give few or many hints about which variables are important in the discussion?
2. How does he give students responsibility for their work?
3. Which teacher questions/statements seemed to open up the discussion? Which shut it down?
4. How and when might the variable review lesson effectively done?

Questions for MOVIE 2:
1. What types of comments does Ed feel

MOVIE 1:   3 minutes 52 seconds MOVIE 2:   5 minutes 8 seconds
free to make with the groups? What kinds of comments did he seem to avoid?
2. What main point is Ed making to the student who said "bigger is bad"? What did the student really mean by "bigger" and "bad" (1:49)? You might want to visit the Parachute Design Rules-of-Thumb page that addresses this issue.
3. Getting students to focus on their product's performance is critical in improving a design. Students are then designing in an informed rather than a haphazard way. In what different ways can this be done with individuals? A design team? An entire class? (3:30).

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