SPARK Discovery and Invention Curriculum Modules

Students working through Activities in the Modules at SPARK Museum.

The curriculum is designed to support 4th grade students in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards, and we have included detailed information about how each lesson specifically connects to the three dimensions of the NGSS Performance Expectations.

Lessons are organized using the 5E Learning Cycle instructional framework. We have provided a conceptual storyline to help you understand how the ideas build throughout the activities. The unit includes three complete modules (learning cycles) and one ‘bookend’ module that begins and ends the unit. Students are motivated by a series of engineering design problems to solve. They then complete four modules, all the while building an “Engineering Manual” with key information that will help them solve their chosen problem. The unit culminates in a Design Showcase of students’ final solutions.

The Field Trip

Demonstration of Tesla Coils during a SPARK Field Trip

Lesson activities utilize use artifacts from the SPARK collection and complement the field trip to the SPARK museum, which can serve as either a provocation or culminating event. When students visit the museum, they are presented with real- world examples of the work of scientists and engineers with a focus on the historical evolution of ideas and electrical devices, showcasing the development and optimization of devices over time. In this way, the field trip provides context for students’ work in the classrooms, and helps them make connections between what they are doing and what
scientists and engineers do.