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Middle School Mathematics Modules


Automated Packaging Challenge Students, posing as candy manufacturers, examine automated manufacturing processes to determine which procedure produces the most consistent packages of a multi-colored candy. They use measures of center, spread, interquartile range and box plots to determine which new manufacturing equipment they should purchase.
Manufacturing Quality Control Challenge Students use inference and measures of center and variability to investigate the error rate of random samples of hex nuts to determine if a manufacturing production line has exceeded the allowable error and needs to be repaired.  In the process, they learn how sample size affects results.
Packaging Challenge Students simulate packaging procedures to determine which procedure is the most consistent and efficient in creating the greatest number of wall hanger kits. Students reason quantitatively using measures of center and variability to construct and defend arguments regarding the best procedure.
Board Game Piece Challenge Students use different measurement tools and create procedures to determine the dimensions of a set of 3-D printed geometric solids.  They then calculate the area, surface area, and volume to determine which pieces best satisfy a set of requirements for a new board game piece.
Hot Shot Challenge Students simulate a Hotshot Firefighters planning team as they define extraction logistics using the Pythagorean Theorem and the linear equation for distance, rate and time. In the process, they construct a coordinate graph of different Hotshot team positions and determine each teams’ pacing so that all teams meet at the helicopter extraction point at the same time.
Clean Energy Challenge Students use a simulation to develop a procedure and collect data regarding the number of houses powered by a solar thermal power plant under different conditions. They reason quantitatively using linear rates of change to determine the most effective insulation material to use in the construction of the power plant.
Crab Aquarium Challenge Students model and graph scientific investigation data related to pheromone concentration versus blue crab mating and predator events. They analyze rate of change and use proportional reasoning to select the mix of predators that will balance the ecosystem of an aquarium display.
Power Finance Challenge Students use linear systems of equations to explore the finances of funding and building a power plant using different insulation materials. They calculate the break-even point when the plant begins to earn a profit, and decide which insulation to use in construction.  
Whale Challenge Students model plankton and temperature data collected at different ocean depths in the Antarctic to determine whether a research vessel will collide with whales. They construct coordinate graphs of the data to identify whether the data is linear or non-linear, discern whether a variable is independent or dependent in the relationship, and reason quantitatively about the data relationships.

An article on the Whale Challenge module has been published in The Journal of Marine Science. Click here to read it.


Middle School Science Modules


Coral Reef Challenge Students engage as biologists advising the government and citizens of Fiji on recent acceleration in the death of coral reefs around Fiji. The module covers some basic concepts of ecosystems, food web/chains, and predator prey relationships.
Deep Sea Ecosystems Challenge Students engage as scientists to analyze images of corals to evaluate the health of deep-sea ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The module helps students define and quantify data as well as differentiate between temporal and spatial data.  It covers some basic concepts of ecosystems, abiotic and biotic factor, and benthic environments.
Oil Spill Challenge Students engage as environmental engineers to develop a procedure that would remove the largest amount of oil from the ocean in the shortest time possible in the event of a large-scale oil spill. The module covers some basic concepts on how human actions impact an ecosystem and different methods of reducing the damage of oil spills on the environment.
Earthquake Challenge Students engage as earth scientists to plot and analyze spatial and temporal earthquake data to help a company decide where to build its new cell phone manufacturing plant in northern California. The module covers basic concepts of seismology, plate tectonics, and the earth’s structure.
Lava Challenge Students engage as earth scientists to develop a procedure for measuring lava flow to help a town adjacent to a volcano develop evacuation plans in the event of an eruption. The module covers some basic concepts regarding volcanoes, lava, and igneous rock formation.
Winter Weather Challenge In this module students play the role of school officials and have to decide whether to close school or keep it open based on weather forecasts. They are introduced to weather concepts and terminology and forecasting basics while learning how to read and analyze forecasts from the National Weather Service.
Helmet Challenge Students engage as crash-test scientists for the SkateTech company to test helmets for skateboarders. The module covers some basic concepts regarding energy, energy transfer, linear and non-linear graphs and brain injuries in sports.
Marine Snow Challenge Students engage as environmental engineers to develop a procedure to determine how the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill landed at the bottom of the ocean. The module covers some basic concepts of density and the factors that affect the movement of particles in fluids.
Skate Park Challenge Students engage as product reviewers for the SkateTech company’s website to craft a product review of various helmets for various abilities of skateboarders. The module covers some basic concepts regarding energy, energy transfer and brain injuries in sports, while mostly introducing and reinforcing the concept that good decisions are made on scientific evidence.


Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Integrated To Unlock Potential (AMP-IT-UP)
is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award Number: 1238089)