Bee Sustainable

Subject: Science
Grade Level: 5
Standards: MA STE & ELA (Common Core)

By Ladda Kosaketh

The students are a group of Environmental Biologists that keep honey bees. They notice that their honey bee colonies are dying and disappearing. Through research, they discover that a nearby local community garden is using chemical pesticides on their plants. Their honey bees visit this garden to feed on plant nectar and make honey. Because they know honey bees are a keystone species they must convince the garden managers to switch to a method of keeping pests away that does not harm the honey bees.

In their meeting with the garden managers, they will need to present a model of an ecosystem to show what roles the honey bees play and how the ecosystem will be affected if the honey bees all die from their use of the chemical pesticides.

STE, Math & ELA Standards 

5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among producers, consumers, decomposers, and the air, water, and soil in the environment to (a) show that plants produce sugars and plant materials, (b) show that animals can eat plants and/or other animals for food, and (c) show that some organisms, including fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms and recycle some materials back to the air and soil.

ART 5-6.V.Cr.02. Organize and plan an idea using a variety of self selected strategies (e.g. sketches, prototypes, rough drafts)

ELA Grade 5 SL.5.4. Report on a topic, text, procedure, or solution to a mathematical problem, or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace and use appropriate vocabulary

STE Practice: Developing and using models

Hexbug Challenge

By Suchira Channoi

Subject: Science, Math
Grade Level: PK
Standards: MA STE, Math & ELA (Common Core)

After exploring the chaotic movements of ‘hexbugs,’ small mechanical robotic bugs, alongside blocks and other materials in the classroom, the children naturally wondered if they could guide the hexbugs to a location.

In this lesson, students are challenged to control the movement and direction of hexbugs without touching them and guide them to a chosen location using materials of their choice.

MA STE, Math & ELA Standards

PreK-PS2-1(MA). Using evidence, discuss ideas about what is making something move the way it does and how some movements can be controlled.


  1. Describe and compare measurable attributes.
  2. Recognize the

attributes of length, area, weight, and capacity of everyday objects using

appropriate vocabulary (e.g., long, short, tall, heavy, light, big, small,

wide, narrow).

English Language Arts/Literacy Standards

SL.PK.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners during daily routines and play.

SL.PK.1.a Observe and use appropriate ways of interacting in a group (e.g., taking turns in talking, listening to peers, waiting to speak until another person is finished talking, asking questions and waiting for an answer, gaining the floor in appropriate ways).

SL.PK.5 Create representations of experiences or stories (e.g., drawings, constructions with blocks or other materials, clay models) and explain them to others.

SL.PK.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

Imagining the Invisible

By Tom Young

Subject: Physics
Grade Level: 9-12
Standards:  MA STE & ELA (Common Core)

You are in residency as diagnostic radiologists. When you meet one of your first patients, you find that they are extremely hesitant to undergo any type of medical imaging. Even after telling the patient that you cannot treat them without first taking images, they tell you that they do not know enough about the technology to go on with treatment.

Choose one of the following patients:

●      Charlie – a 5 year old child who fell off of a playset and is complaining to his mother about pain in his forearm, which is very swollen and not very straight.

●      Megan – a 17 year old who got hit playing lacrosse and can no longer stand on her right knee. She has injured her MCL before.

●      Sarania – a woman who is 4 months pregnant presents with consistent abdominal pain.

●      Ronin – a 74 year old man who you strongly suspect to have hyperthyroidism

Determine which type of Medical Imaging Technology is appropriate to diagnose the patient that you chose. Then, you must explain to the patient how the technology works, how safe it is, and why it is necessary to proceed with treatment of their condition.

STE & ELA Standards

HS-PS4-5. Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.*

Practice: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


Introduce a topic and organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aid comprehension.  

Help Save Our Summer!

By Michelle Olivari

Subject: Science, Tech/Eng
Grade Level: 7
Standards:  MA STE, DLCS & ELA (Common Core)

The National Weather Service has issued a warning that it is going to be a hot, dry summer again this year. The community of Leominster needs your help!
Concern is already starting to spread about a possible city-wide watering ban that will prevent us from watering gardens, lawns, and making sure pools are filled after endless cannon-balls and belly flops!

Using your knowledge from the book, One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, as well as the significance of sunlight and gravity in driving the water cycle, develop a system to collect and store rainfall that the citizens of Leominster will be able to use to water their lawns, gardens and fill their pools and help save the summer!


STE & ELA Standards

7.MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to explain how the energy of the Sun and Earth’s gravity drive the cycling of water, including changes of state, as it moves through multiple pathways in Earth’s hydrosphere.

7.MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing solutions to a given design problem using a decision matrix to determine how well each meets the criteria and constraints of the problem. Use a model of each solution to evaluate how variations in one or more design features, including size, shape, weight, or cost, may affect the function or effectiveness of the solution.*

7.MS-ETS1-7(MA). Construct a prototype of a solution to a given design problem.*

Grade 7 ELA Standards (SL-speaking and listening)

  • Comprehension and Collaboration SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and clearly expressing their own.
  • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas SL.7.4&5 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate vocabulary, eye contact, volume, and pronunciation. Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points


Subject: Science, Math
Grade Level: 3
Standards:  MA STE, Math & ELA (Common Core)

By Sara Donovan

Canton Outventures is a new outdoor adventure company that is moving to the Blue Hills in Canton.  They want to provide various outdoor activities throughout the year, but they need to know the type of weather to expect each season.

Each group is being hired as consultants to :

  • Predict Canton’s weather (temperature, precipitation) during one season.   
  • Show weather data in a scaled bar graph
  • Create a plan to bring people to the top of Blue Hill in each season
  • Provide Canton OutVentures with the information they need to provide fun, smart, evidence-based decisions for the company and for Canton residents.

STE, Math & ELA Standards 

3-ESS2-1. Use graphs and tables of local weather data to describe and predict typical weather during a particular season in an area.

3.3-5-ETS1-1 – Define a simple design problem that reflects a need or a want.  Include criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost that a potential solution must meet.

3.MD.B 3  Represent and interpret data

Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.

Grade 3 Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 

  1. Report on a topic, text, or solution to a mathematical problem, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace and using appropriate vocabulary. 

Science Practice:  Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Math Practice:  Model with Mathematics

Shakey Cakey Makey Breaky!

Subject: Physics, Art
Grade Level: 11-12
Standards:  MA STE, Art & ELA (Common Core)

By Richard Cohen

Over the weekend, my daughter and I made a cake to take to a family party. It was moist, yummy and looked beautiful. But one problem arose… We lived an hour away from the party and on the ride there, the cake shifted and fell apart. What a mess!

We frantically tried to fix it but all of our efforts were for nothing. It was a disaster. If only we had something that could store a cake and protect it during the stop and go of a car ride. Hmmmmm?

Your task is to design, build and test a device to protect a cake. Well, a cupcake to start with. The test will happen on one of my robots as it journeys around the room. There will be stops and starts, inclines and declines and the winning design will preserve the integrity of the cupcake best.

STE, ELA & Art Standards 

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific principles of motion and momentum to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.*

HS-PS2-2. Use mathematical representations to show that the total momentum of a system of interacting objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system. 

RCA-ST.9-10.7 Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. 

Art: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. Describe how decisions about how a media artwork is presented are connected to what the student wants to express, evoke, or communicate. (F.MA.P.06)

Cacophonous Conundrums

Subject:  Science, Tech/Eng, Music
Grade Level: 6
Standards: MA STE, Music & ELA (Common Core)

By Lee Burgess

It’s the year 2035 and you’re beginning your first day of the new semester as an in-school symphony educator. As part of your duties as a full-time Springfield Symphony member, you are assigned to a local middle school to begin teaching and mentoring beginning musicians.

On your first day, you realize a major problem: Your students are playing consistently with no sense of intonation (being in-tune). You will get together with 2 of your fellow symphony teaching artists (classmates) and develop 1 to 3 reproducible remedies for intonation. By the end of this project, you will be able to perform your first five notes in tune, perform as a trio a simple tune, and present the remedy you developed for superior intonation.


STE, ELA & Music Standards

6.MS-PS4-1. Use diagrams of a simple wave to explain that (a) a wave has a repeating pattern with a specific amplitude, frequency, and wavelength, and (b) the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy of the wave.

3.3-5-ETS1-2. Generate several possible solutions to a given design problem. Compare each solution based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the design problem.*

WCA-6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts (and scientific tools) to support analysis, interpretation, reflection, and research

Music 6th Grade: Performing-5. Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Cacophonous Conundrums banner Subject: Science,Music,STEM Grade Level: 6 Standards: MA STE, Music & ELA (Common Core)