Curriculum Highlights


The SLIDER Curriculum consists of  two 4-week units where students organize, think about, and design solutions for engineering challenges, and in the process actively engage in investigations, data analysis and scientific argumentation.  Each unit focuses on specific physical science disciplinary content; Unit 1: Energy and Unit 2: Force and Motion.  Watch the video below to view an overview of each unit and some design features of the curriculum.


SLIDER aligns with Middle School Physical Science and Engineering NGSS Standards.  The links below show the alignment of each standard to the content of the Unit.

Unit 1 NGSS Alignment -See below

Unit 2 NGSS Alignment - See below

SLIDER Curriculum is designed to engage students in Challenge Situated Learning. Therefore each unit features an engineering design scenario that serves as the context for students progressing through the investigations and learning physical science content. Below are descriptions of each unit followed by a chart that demonstrates the inquiry cycle as students engage in the unit. 


Unit 1: The Accident Challenge –   Potential & Kinetic Energy and Energy Transfer

The people of the Town of McFarland have an accident problem at a busy intersection involving large tractor-trailer trucks hitting smaller cars. There has even been an increase in injuries and fatalities. Students are challenged to assist the town of McFarland to a) understand why the accidents are causing more damage and injury, b) investigate the factors that lead to such accidents, and c) evaluate possible solutions that might decrease the accidents and injuries. Through a mixed use of written text and video, the SLIDER curriculum provides students with a rich context that describes many dimensions of the problem and helps to scaffold possible solutions while learning core ideas and practices.



Unit 2: The Brake Challenge – Forces & Motion

The company who owns the trucks from unit has noticed that a number of their trucks have been involved in similar accidents across the state and nation (not just in McFarland). The company would like to determine whether it should invest in an automatic braking and collision warning systems for their trucks. Students are challenged to: a) Investigate the factors that might improve a current braking system, and b) design an improved brake with a shorter braking distance. Once again, students progress through the unit investigating forces and change in motion. Near the end of the unit, students design, test, and optimize a new brake they must attach to the LEGO truck model to evaluate design options.

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