During this cycle, students learned about Engineering and the Engineering Design Process. They learned that engineers think creatively about solving problems and responding to challenges that exist in our world. Students also learned that engineers follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to solve these problems: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve.
Students were presented with a challenge to engineer a pet treat dispenser system. Before beginning their design, students learned about the lever (a simple machine) and gravity. We researched different types of food and water dispensers currently available for pets.
Challenge: Using what you know about levers and gravity, create a container for a dog treat that dispenses the treat. The container must meet the following criteria:
• The container must be large enough to hold one day’s worth of treats
• It must be able to dispense a treat when the animal steps on a lever or touches it with their nose or paw
• The treat should roll or fall out of the container into a small bowl
• Be totally enclosed so that the only way the treats are accessed is by using the lever
Materials: small cardboard box, cardboard, craft sticks, chenille stems, small springs, rubber bands, paper clips, tape, small bowl, unifix cubes to simulate dog treats and scissors
Using the steps of the Engineering Design Process, students worked in teams to complete the challenge.
On the last day, students presented their solutions and reflected on their work. As a group, they defined what it means to be an engineer, and the character traits needed to be successful.