In this transdisciplinary unit, students will work in teams to engineer or design a colonial settlement that can withstand various challenges. They will begin by learning about Europeans settling in the New World and about various settlements that succeeded or failed. Then, students will reflect on what criteria determine the success of a settlement. Next, they will conduct research and undergo a simulation where they build a colonial settlement and test it against a specific weather challenge. Students will refine their design based on how the settlement fared during the challenge. Finally, students will write an informational column to be included in the “Savvy Colonists’ Guide to the New World” where they will offer advice to future colonists.
Throughout the lesson, students will use their Engineering Portfolios to keep track of their research and plan out their settlement design. It is recommended that teachers print out and assemble pages of the portfolio in advance. A printable version of the portfolio can be accessed from the Student Resources section of the website. Note that students can complete some components of the Engineering Portfolio electronically by typing directly into the PDF.