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 Design Process to solve these problems: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve.
Students began the cycle with a quick challenge: The Racecar Challenge
Mission: To build a ramp that will send your racecar the furthest distance across the room.
Materials: 1 toy racecar, foam blocks, 1 file folder
After completing the challenge, they analyzed the steps they took to respond to it and the character traits they needed to be successful.
They were then presented with another challenge: The Chairlift Challenge
Mission: You are part of a team of engineers who have been given the challenge of building a chair lift to carry a ping pong ball up the mountain (from the floor of your classroom to the top of a desk or chair) using materials provided to you. Your lift must both carry the ball up the mountain and also back down without the ball dropping out. How you design your chairlift and the chair that will carry the ball, and what materials you use are up to you!
Materials: ping pong ball, a pulley, string, bendable wire, paper clips, 5 pipe cleaners, 5 straws, paper tube, aluminum foil, and tape.
Using the steps of the Engineering Design Process, they worked in groups to respond to 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.