Thursday, October 24, 2013

How does Technology Mimic Biology?

https://plus.google.com/photos/104665354261133320564/albums/5854593459971173873 
Last year we rolled out an Optics Project where students made pinhole cameras. It was hugely successful in terms of engagement and motivation. We loved the iterative nature of pinhole camera design. Build - shoot - develop - tweak - shoot - develop - repeat. Excellent! The project was a bit of a hodge podge of activities that didn't all fit seamlessly into a bigger broader question or inquiry. Although I continue thinking about this project, I'm not rolling it out again yet so I haven't yet re-drafted last year's project.

Here's last year's outline. 

Here are my current thoughts about chunking the inquiry into the Question: How does Technology Mimic Biology?

Part 1: Behaviours of Light Inquiry
-begin with 1 question on why light behaves the way it does, prompted with 24 hours to brainstorm
-then experiment with light equipment to better understand the behaviours of light and how technologies manipulate light to perform complex tasks

Part 2: Eye Dissection
-last time we started with too much emphasis on students finding and using resources
-this time we'll limit the inquiry, but maximize the learning that can come out of the dissection
-kWL for parts of the eye (k and w) done prior to lab, L assessed for thinking competency
-give lab guide after some work with K and W 

Part 3: Compare and Contrast Cameras and Eyes
-questions together follow around functionality of eye (under conditions similar to camera - light at various focal lengths, varying levels of light...)
-next independent questions? of camera design (aperture, shutter speed, focal length relative to camera size)

Part 4: Design, Construct, Use Pinhole Cameras
-research and find designs
-detailed sketches
-light meter apps
-experimentation