Science Meets Design in 6th Grade

IB at ISB · December 5, 2019
IB at ISB Middle School

3-D Measurements – Mass, Density, & Design

As a fun introductory unit to Middle School Science, our 6th Grade scientists are exploring what it means to be a scientist. Every week before science lab class, students are presented with a mystery photograph activity to help them develop their skills in scientific communication and observation by describing what they see.

Try it out! What do you see in the photograph below on the left?

After students discuss the unidentifiable image by describing it (shapes, colors, texture, etc.) and sharing their observations, the answer is revealed! In the photo below, it’s a close-up image of a compound eye of an insect!

Middle School Science Teacher Ms. Kim shares, “This activity helps students develop the mindset of an explorer while also building up their vocabulary and sharing it with each other.”

After the photograph activity, the class then moves into their unit. Right now, students are learning about scientific measurements and the metric system. As a part of this unit, students explore the intersection of science, technology, and design through their 3D STEM Project. Ms. Kim comments on this project and says, “We are intentional about creating connections between subjects.” Design Teacher Ms. Hough agrees, “Connecting science and technology makes each subject area more accessible.”

Design Class

The students started by designing their own 3D homes in their Design class with Ms. Hough. They learned about the process of design and 3D design software. Using TinkerCad, they worked in groups of two to develop their own 3D homes with certain guiding parameters for the base, windows, roof, and the additional shapes involved. Their designs were brought to life using our 3D printer! 


Check Out a Few of Their Constructions:

Ms. Hough adds, “This project enhances spatial reasoning, scale, and geometry.” She continues, “There is a lot of science in tech and a lot of tech in science so combining these two together reinforces the connection between the subjects and the real world perspective.”

Science Class

After students finished designing their 3-D structures in Design class, they then used their creations in Ms. Kim’s Science class, where they learned about the scientific measurements of area, mass, density, and volume.

In Science class, students began by writing procedures to guide their process. To learn how to measure mass correctly and how to write a correct procedure for the measurement of mass, the students first practiced measuring mass with sugar first and writing the procedure.


Then once they mastered measuring mass with sugar, students moved on to measuring their 3D Homes. Students examined their designs, and measured the mass of their structures, the area of the windows and doors, and more! 


Measuring Explorations:

Ms. Kim shares, “Through projects like these, the students see the connection in math, design, science, and english too – it’s all connected.” Ms. Hough reflects, “I think what makes ISB’s STEM and Design program unique is that it includes a lot of hands-on opportunities. Each child is able to learn in a way that makes sense for them.” To learn more about the Middle School curriculum, click here.