DNA Model Project

dna model

I must be honest. I don’t do this project anymore! My students had such a hard time getting their models to actually stand up, that I gave up completely 😂 😂

Here’s the link to the project.

If you’re able to get some photos in your class, please send them to me at stemstrengthtpt@gmail.com. I’d love to see what your students come up with!

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Instagerm: Prokaryotic Study

I absolutely love this project! I’ve been using it for years now, so I wanted to give a shoutout to Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy

Here’s a few standouts from my class

Here’s a link to the product file. 

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Biosphere Project

Welcome to my middle school Biosphere Project! I designed this project with an ecology and interconnectedness focus, but I’ve had ideas of adding in some sociology and government facets.

Take a look at the work some of my 7th graders submitted this year!

I allowed some of my students, with permission, to make their biospheres in a digital format. I’ve never seen this program before, but these boys did a great job! They even included an art gallery that features exhibits from the former Earth.

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These boys were really creative with their research center and neighborhood!

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This group of boys really made me laugh by creating their biosphere ON THE SUN!!!

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A great Neptune biosphere by this group of girls.

These girls made the cutest mini domes featuring all their biomes and farming regions.

Another great one featuring a very detailed human area, with a pet dog!

These girls invented their own planet and made it fully unicorn themed! I love their enchanted forest and their farm domes!

Another great one. These girls included a hub in the middle to represent the machinery keeping their biosphere going.

Wonderful job by this team of girls! Their biosphere even has a clear dome skylight with a working fan! I love their human area!

This biosphere has such great detail! I loved this little robot work station!

This group even included a generator! I love the creativity!

Here’s a few links that’ll get you started if you’re interested in doing this project with your own students! 

  1. Start with a free introductory reading about Biosphere 2 in Phoenix available here. 
  2. Check out the project packet here! 

  3. Newsela also has a related article here: What is a biosphere? 

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NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Unpack the NGSS standards with this fun booklet!

14 pages cover the basics of the NGSS practices of scientists and engineers:

  1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  2. Developing and Using Models
  3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Click here to see the project!

Optionally, in the end, I’ve grouped students and assigned one practice per group. From there, the students were in charge of unpacking substandard and rewording them in “middle school friendly” language.

Here’s an example of a poster made by one of those groups:

Student Example

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STEM Project: The Invention Convention

At our school we designed the Invention Convention to give the kids a way to really practice the engineering skills they had spent so much time learning. Students are encouraged to choose a problem in their everyday lives and then create a solution through new technology.

To walk them through the phases of the project, students are given a booklet where they brainstorm, sketch, and report on their efforts during each day of the project. The booklet also has a checklist where students can keep track of their requirements.

In the end students create a poster with a summary of their project including a title and a description of the problem they are solving.

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Invention Convention Sample
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Invention Convention Sample

Click here to see the full Invention Convention STEM Project!

And let’s be honest, not all students enjoy perfectionism as much as others. I can’t quite remember what this kid was making, but I hope it was a door stop. Not all projects are created equally!

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And of course.. the duds

This year we modified the project to require students to invent something using recycled materials. Here’s what the students came up with!

Here’s what one teacher said:

I am so excited to use this format! Well laid out and easy to implement. Thanks!

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Cell Model Project

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Ah yes! The classic cell model project. No doubt a quick Google search will bring up thousands of student examples. I can still remember making my own cell in middle school.  I chose to make my cytoplasm out of Jello, but I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t have access to a refrigerator at school. I submitted a project that more closely resembled a soup than a cell. Cue traumatic memories.

Here’s some things I suggest you consider before beginning your own project:

1. Will you allow projects made of food? If yes, what will those students do during allotted class work time?

2. Will you allow groups?

3. How prepared are you for the mess? Scroll to the end of this post to see what we were dealing with this year in my classroom.

A variation I’ve done in the past was make cell metaphor projects. Check out this cell school made by a few of my students:

Click here to check out my project rubric.

And of course, the best part of middle school projects is the inevitable disasters.

 I love my job 🙂 

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