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 Paper Table Challenge
Mission: Design and build a table out of newspaper tubes. Your table needs to be as tall as possible and needs to be strong enough to hold a book.
Materials: 1 file folder, 1 book, 1 strip of masking tape, 4 sheets of newspaper.
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 Popsicle Bridge Challenge
Your Mission: You are part of a team of engineers who have been given the challenge to design a bridge out of popsicle sticks and glue. The bridge must span at least 12 inches in length. When it has been constructed, it will have to be able to rest between two chairs. The challenge is to build the sturdiest bridge that can hold the most weight (we will measure the weight in the number of pennies your bridge can hold.) You are also encouraged to use the fewest number of popsicle sticks possible to achieve your goal.
Your Materials: popsicle sticks, glue
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.