Merge EDU gives you new mixed reality tools to integrate into your STEM program! We make it easy for you to engage your students with hands-on, digital STEM projects, both in the classroom and while remote learning from home.
Each project focuses on a different future-ready career and follows the same format, so students will know what to expect each time they complete one. And, every project includes step-by-step instructions along with a number of worksheets that students will fill out and share as they progress through each step.
In this article, we will introduce you to the steps you should take to familiarize yourself with Merge STEM Projects.
- Getting Started with STEM Projects
- Reviewing the Challenge Document
- Project Resources
- Challenge Summary
- The Engineering Design Process
- Step 1: Ask
- Step 2: Imagine
- Step 3: Plan
- Step 4: Create
- Step 5: Improve
- Step 6: Share
When you’re ready, follow these steps to get started:
Getting Started with Merge STEM Projects
Navigate to “STEM Projects” on the Merge Dashboard to access them, or click this link.
Tap on the thumbnails to browse the STEM Projects designed by innovative educators from around the world. The projects were designed for remote, hybrid and in-class learning scenarios.
You can download and add text to the STEM Projects and accompanying worksheets by going to File > Download and selecting a file type. If saved as a PowerPoint file, the slides can be edited in Microsoft PowerPoint. You can also choose File > Make a copy, which makes it easy to edit in Google Docs.
Review the Challenge Document
The Merge STEM Projects gives students the opportunity to solve real world problems. Each project is organized around a challenge, and requires students to think about how they will use technology to help solve the issue, using AR and the Merge Cube as integral components. This allows for rapid iteration of designs, and makes it easy to give and receive feedback from anywhere.
The first page of the challenge document goes over the resources needed to complete the project. All Merge STEM Projects require a Merge Cube, Merge EDU Account, and the Object Viewer app. Additionally, the Merge STEM Projects will reference a specific 3D modelling program the project is meant to utilize.
Note: If your school utilizes a different 3D modelling program, you may need to make some adjustments to the lesson.
After Resources, you’ll find “The Challenge” section. This section creates a scenario for the students, giving them a problem to solve. All of the Merge STEM Projects asks students to create or design something as if they were a member of a production team. In taking the challenge, students will go through the entire engineering/development process to create a final product.
The Engineering Design Process
Step 1: Ask
The first step of the development process is “Ask.” Students are asked to keep a journal of their progress and describe in their own words what problem they’ve been asked to solve, and the challenges they foresee. This is a way to make sure everyone understands the project, and helps students begin to think about the scope of the project and what they hope to accomplish with the time and resources they have.
Step 2: Imagine
The second step is “Imagine.” There are two worksheets that students will need to complete for this step: the Research Document and Brainstorm Document.
The Research Document asks students to do some independent research to form the basis of their understanding. This research encourages students to learn more about what they are designing, discover similar products that are currently available in the real world, or simply gather the data they will need to complete their project.
Once the research is complete, students will use the Brainstorm Document to come up with a variety of ideas and sketch out diagrams of what those ideas may look like. The Brainstorm Document asks students to come up with a few different ideas before selecting one to go forward with.
Step 3: Plan
Now students have a few solid ideas, they will need to select their favorite one and create a more detailed design using the Plan & Design Document in step 3, the planning step.
The Plan & Design Document is a more detailed version of the Brainstorm Document, and asks students to create their design with exact measurements, so that they can follow it while creating their 3D model. The design document also asks students to think about why they chose that design over others.
Step 4: Create
Step 4 is the creation stage. The STEM Projects link to tutorials to help students with the recommended 3D program, so they can turn their design into reality. Once they have completed their 3D model prototype, students use the Merge Uploader to upload their own 3D creations to view on the Merge Cube.
To learn more about how to use the Uploader, click here.
By viewing their 3D models on the Merge Cube, students are easily able to visualize their creations in 3D space, move and view them from every angle, and easily make observations on what is working or not working about the design. Students will be filling out a Prototype Report Document, describing their creation and the challenges they’ve encountered so far.
The Prototype Report document also has a section for Teacher Feedback. Students should turn in their report, along with their object’s Object Code to their teacher, then receive the document back with feedback from their teacher either approving the design or requesting changes.
Step 5: Improve
Students now focus on improving their model in step 5. Along with feedback from their teacher, students will get feedback from their peers. Using their object code, students can share their projects with other groups or individuals, in order to get a fresh perspective. Students giving feedback will use the Prototype Evaluation Document to make specific observations about their classmates’ projects, and suggest improvements.
Once the original creators receive these Evaluation Documents back, they will fill out a Response Document, which will describe what actions they can take to improve their model, based on that feedback. It’s important to note that students should always make a copy of their original prototype, then make changes to the copy, so that they can always return to the original file if the changes don’t pan out.
There may be just one ‘improve’ phase, or students can create multiple iterations of their model until they have a final prototype.
Step 6: Share
Finally, it’s time for students to present their creative, peer-evaluated and improved design! Students should go through their entire design process, including showing their research, plans, improvements, and evaluations, along with either a video or live demonstration of their project.
Each STEM Project has its own unique questions, and teachers may direct students to give a presentation or send in a video essay answering them. If your school has access to a 3D Printer, you may also have students print out their project.
Now that you know more about our STEM Projects, you can start implementing them in your classroom today!
For more information on how Merge EDU can help in your STEM class, check out this help article.