STEM Activity: Wildlife Engineering Design Challenge
Design a new park where people can have fun and animals can thrive!
- Aluminum foil
- Craft items (clay, construction paper, craft sticks)
- Markers or pencil
- Recyclable materials (boxes, cardboard tubes, packaging materials)
- Small plastic or stuffed toy animals
1. Imagine that you need to design and build a park where wild animals can safely live and people can also enjoy the environment.
2. Make a list of the types of animals you hope to attract.
3. Begin by identifying potential challenges and thinking through what you can do to help.
4. Consider the following:
A. What types of habitats will suit the animals you hope to attract?
B. What types of pathways might be useful for people?
C. Might there be other features, like bridges or gates?
D. What inventions might be needed to ensure there is enough water or energy available?
5. Design a prototype (model) of your park and test your design using stuffed or plastic toy animals.
6. Ask for feedback and improve upon your design to make it even better!
What are we discovering?
When engineers create a new design, they have to think through problems from various perspectives and identify the best solutions. They also need to employ empathy, or the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, as they are creating solutions. Children often feel strong empathy towards animals and nature. National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Chieko Asakawa, inventor of the Home Page Reader (which gives people who are blind or visually impaired access to the Internet), highlights the importance of empathy in designing products that best fit the end user. To learn more about Chieko Asakawa, we invite you to visit our website.
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