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PBS Building Labs

Free! PBS Building Labs lets users experience the ways that forces, loads, materials, and shapes impact the natural and manmade world. To begin, users have to choose a phenomenon to experience by clicking it along the top of the chart. Next, depending which phenomenon was selected, variables for how users can interact with it load, and users can select the different variables to see how they impact the phenomenon. Some variables allow users to view real-world examples while others demonstrate a property of the phenomenon.  The website also includes a “Glossary” section that users can select to access key terms…

Review Overview

A. Instruction - 5.7
B. Design - 8.3
C. Engagement - 6.3

6.8

Helping Students Understand the Natural World

7
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PBS Building Labs lets users experience the ways that forces, loads, materials, and shapes impact the natural and manmade world. To begin, users have to choose a phenomenon to experience by clicking it along the top of the chart. Next, depending which phenomenon was selected, variables for how users can interact with it load, and users can select the different variables to see how they impact the phenomenon. Some variables allow users to view real-world examples while others demonstrate a property of the phenomenon.  The website also includes a “Glossary” section that users can select to access key terms and definitions used in engineering.

Instructional Ideas

  1. Teachers can assign students a phenomenon to study – Forces, Loads, Materials, or Shapes – and then have students study the phenomenon using the different variables. For each variable, students can summarize how it impacts the phenomenon. Students can write their summaries and post them to a class website. Teachers can then use the summaries to begin a class conversation or mini-lesson about the different variables and/or phenomena.
  2. After students study a phenomenon and its variables, they can create models to demonstrate how the variables and phenomenon interact in nature. As students conduct these demonstrations, they can record themselves doing so, and the recordings can be shared with the class.
  3. After students have studied the different phenomena, teachers can have students use the io app to create a structure they think can withstand the most severe natural forces. Students can include commentary that explains why they think their structure is strong enough to withstand the different phenomena. Students can then post a link to their work on a class website, which can be used for students to share ideas.
  4. When explaining different phenomena included in this website, teachers can require students to use different key terms found in the glossary. In addition, students can draw an image of that is representative of a key term and explain how and why that key term relates to one or more phenomena included in this website.
A1. Rigor
A2. 21st Century Skills
A3. Conn. to Future Learning
A4. Value of Errors
A5. Feedback to Teacher
A6. Level of Material
A7. Cooperative Learning
A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
0 star = Not Applicable
B1. Ability to Save Progress
B2. Platform Integration
B3. Screen Design
B4. Ease of Use
B5. Navigation
B6. Goal Orientation
B7. Information Presentation
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity
0 star = Not Applicable
C1. Learner Control
C2. Interactivity
C3. Pace
C4. Flexibility
C5. Interest
C6. Aesthetics
C7. Utility
0 star = Not Applicable

Screenshots

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