Feed on

Overview and Lesson Plan

Outline of Activity

After working with the Troy Middle Schoolers for the Arduino project, the team sought to work with the students again. This time, the PDI students would create an activity involving their design skills and the student’s curriculum, specifically cells. This activity would take place in Mr. Carminati’s 7th grade class for the course of two periods.

Lesson Plan

This section includes information for the lesson plan including time structure and content.

Time Structure

The classes at Troy Middle School are each 40 minutes. The first section of the activity would run from 9:31am – 10:11am and the second would run from 10:14am – 10:54am. During the sessions there will be the following:

  • Introduction & instructions for activity (8 min)
  • Activity time (20 min)
  • Discussion (10 min)
  • Thank you & feedback (2 min)

Content of Lesson Plan

Introduction & Instructions for Activity

First we will introduce ourselves as RPI Students majoring in engineering and design. We will include that many of our classes are project based and when work on projects in class we make models and prototypes

At this point, in order to engage the class, we will ask does anyone know what a prototype is?

When working with people in a speaker audience type setting, it is important to engage others. We wanted to do this right from the beginning especially because this is a participatory activity and the first segment, one of the shorter ones time wise, is just to provide some information. The PDIers will then briefly discuss prototyping outside the classroom by some explanation like, when anything is made, phone, water bottles, backpacks there are behind the scenes steps that go on before these things are made for people to buy.

The focus will then shift to the students and their classroom. We know that the group just finished learning about cells and we want to revisit that with them and do a prototype activity of the plant or animal cell.

The goal as we have determined it will be as follows:

The students will create a works-like/looks-like prototype of a plant and animal cell. Expand learning through, visual, auditory, and tactile techniques. They will use basic craft materials found around the house  or a school in order to show the different organelles and creatively represent them.

In order to do the activity, the class will break up into 3-4 groups 4-5 people in each group. They will have have 20 minutes total to do the prototype. This is a fun and interactive activity so the explanation of everything should reflect that.  

Activity Time

The groups will be handed a prototyping box with a sheet of paper that explains the Task. The task reads, create a prototype of an animal or plant cell. Also inside the box is a poster board, prototyping materials, and an animal/plant cell checklist.  


The materials are listed below:

  • Poster board
  • Paper
  • Play-dough
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Straws
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Rubber bands
  • Glue sticks
  • String
  • Paper clips

Organelle Checklist

The students will be instructed to try to create as many of the organelles that they can! The checklist is below:


After the activity, there will be time for mini presentations of the each of the groups as well as a discussion about the activity itself. Much of what happens in the discussion will depend on how the activity went overall. Possible questions include:

  1. What went well with the prototyping?
  2. What would you do differently?
  3. What other things could you make with the prototyping box?
  4. Did you like the activity?

Thank you & Feedback

The last few minutes are for feedback from the students and any extra time for problems or unexpected occurrences throughout the session.