G4 Engineering: Pulley design challenge

As part of Grade 4’s Engineering design unit “making good better”, students have been working in teams to complete a pulley design challenge. In this 3 lesson sequence in the design lab, teams select from 3 different scenarios, then plan and engineer pulley solutions to their chosen challenge. Students must continually reflect on their role within the team and how to “make good better”.

Download the slides here

G4 Engineering team challenges

To get us prepared for the main engineering project, Grade 4 will run through a sequence of short challenges, on a rotation, each day for the first week of the unit. At the end of each challenge, teams should run through a reflection protocol to share what the activity was, what they got out of it and what they might do differently next time. The order that the challenges are completed in doesn’t matter.

 

Activity 1: Toothpick tower

Image sourced from FlatIcon

Which team can create the tallest tower using only toothpicks and modeling clay? This engineering challenge is simply about making the tallest tower possible. The team with the tallest tower at the end, wins the challenge. There are a few simple rules:

  • 2 minutes at the beginning of the challenge is set aside for planning, discussion and sketching. No building is allowed until the teacher invites you to begin
  • You may only use toothpicks and modeling clay and the hight of the tower is measured from the base of the tower to its top
  • Reflect: What did your team do well? What can your team improve on next time? What was your role in the team? What can you do better next time?

 

Activity 2: Paper clip challenge

Image sourced from FlatIcon

Your task for this challenge is to create a new design for a paper clip. You may use card, wire, or other materials provided. You must practice using the pliers and other tools safely.

  • In your group, look closely at the examples and sketch different ideas for a new version
  • Work with your team to decide on the best ideas to prototype
  • Test your new design. How many pieces of paper can it hold together? What changes can you make to improve its performance?
  • Work with your team to decide on the best overall design
  • Pitch your design to another group and let them know what you would like feedback on. Is your new design an improvement? How? Then listen to the other groups’ pitch and offer them feedback on their design
  • Reflect on the activity and your final design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity 3: “Secret” paper airplane

Image sourced from FlatIcon

In this challenge, you will work with a partner. Sitting back-to-back, one person must instruct the other on how to fold a paper plane, in 2 minutes.

  • For the instructor: choose one of the designs or use your own technique
  • Carefully guide your partner through the specific steps and listen to their questions
  • For the maker: carefully follow the instructions and ask specific questions if you need to clarify
  • Test your plane in the designated area
  • Reflect: Was the plane the same as what the instructor intended? Why/why not? How could your plane be improved? What could you do differently next time to make the process and result better?

Image from “Fold’n’Fly” – click to see instructions : )

Activity 4: Catapult challenge

Image sourced from FlatIcon

In this challenge you will work with your team create a catapult to shoot a projectile into the target area(s). You may use the examples provided to guide you or make your own design. You may test your design 2 times and refine the design before the final test.

  • Look at the examples shown and sketch out a plan
  • Create your prototype using the materials available
  • Test your design up to 2 times in the testing area
  • Perform the final test and record your results
  • Reflect: How did you make your catapult go from “good” to “better”? How did you contribute to your team’s success? What do you need to improve on?

Activity 5: WeDo

Image sourced from FlatIcon

 

In this task you will use a Lego WeDo kit and the WeDo iPad app. Work as a team and follow the instructions in the app to complete a series of different WeDo engineering projects. Once you have completed at least 2 from the activity library, try to create a whole new invention. Perhaps you can team up with another group and create an invention from 2 WeDo kits!

 

Activity 6: Rescue pulley (Design Lab)

Image sourced from FlatIcon

In this challenge you will work in groups of 4 to lift an Edison robot from the ground to the workbench. 2 People are responsible for designing a pulley and the other 2 people are responsible for designing the carrier structure. The successful design will lift the Edison from the ground to the bench. Can you program the Edison to drive onto the carrier and then onto the bench??

  • Discuss the problem with your team. Select team members for each part of the task
  • Sketch and communicate different options for the design – how it will work, what it is made from and how it will be constructed?
  • Build and test the prototype
  • Demonstrate the prototype to another group. What would you like feedback on? Record the feedback from the other group
  • Give feedback on the other group’s design
  • Return to your design – will you take the feedback on board or reject it? How will you improve your design?
  • Reflect: How did you contribute to your team’s success? Why are pulleys useful? How many ways are pulleys used in everyday situations?

 

 

G4 Engineering Design

How can we, as engineers, use what we know about design to address a real-world problem?

An engineer is someone who designs machines or structures to solve problems.

How can you work as an engineer to:

  1. Identify everyday problems that affect someone you know (that engineering could address)?
  2. Create a machine or structure that addresses the problem you identified?

Design Process Journal

In this unit we will download and edit the Design Process Journal to document our engineering process. This will help our creative process and ensure that all of our thinking and making is shown. You can download the journal here, or ask your teacher for a copy. Follow your teachers’ instructions on how to edit the journal on your iPad using Pages.

Unit guide

The unit is structured in 3 stages – Define & Inquire, Develop & Plan, Create & Improve. (Note: this is covered in the design journal).

Stage 1: Define & Inquire

  • What problems can you identify (big or small) that engineering could address? Use design thinking, interviews & observations to identify real problems you might like to address
  • Write a Design Brief – this is where you specify the problem, and how you intend to address it
  • Research the problem, gather a range of inspiration from various primary and secondary sources, and explore examples of how similar problems have been addressed by engineers
  • Use Seesaw to reflect on this stage and set goals for the next stage

Stage 2: Develop & Plan

  • Generate as many divergent ideas as you possibly can (sketching, brainstorming, etc)
  • Identify the strongest potential solutions to your problem and add more detail to the concept(s)
  • Select your best idea and make a detailed plan – materials, measurements, construction techniques, timeline, etc
  • Use Seesaw to reflect on this stage and set goals for the next stage

Stage 3: Create & Improve

  • Begin creating a physical prototype as early in the process as possible
  • Test your prototype – preferably with your intended audience
  • Gather lots of feedback from your audience, peers, teachers, etc
  • Use the testing results and feedback to identify ways to improve your design – make a revised plan
  • Create a refined version of your design and repeat stage 3 as many times as you can
  • Use Seesaw to reflect on this stage

Reflect & Share stage

  • Reflect on your entire journey as an engineer:
    • Tell the story of your design process
    • How did your final design address the problem that you identified in your design brief?
    • What were the biggest challenges? How did you fail during your process? What did you learn from your failures?
    • What were your biggest successes? How did you know you were on the right track?
    • What would you do if you could keep working on this project? What would you do differently if you could start over?
    • What was the most helpful feedback you received and why? How did you support other Grade 4 engineers in this project?

Parent Design Workshop

Recently we held a workshop for ES parents to learn more about ISB’s Design Process. We had a great turnout of parents interested to learn about design thinking, generating ideas and developing concepts in the design lab. Parents worked in teams to develop concepts for sustainable lunchbox designs for our students. It was wonderful to see our parents diving into the challenge and we were blown away by the quality of their concepts! Thanks to all of the parents who were able to attend.

You can download the slides here.

G4 – Ballon Car Challenge 2018

Hello Grade 4!

Your Design Challenge for today is to create a car that travels the quickest/furthest distance possible using balloon power.

There three main considerations that will help you achieve the best speed & distance:

  1. Light weight
    Make your car as light as possible. Carefully plan and select the lightest materials you can find. Analyse every aspect of your car to make it as light as you possibly can. Don’t add anything to your car that is not necessary!
  2. Low friction and aligned wheels
    Ensure that your wheels are rolling freely. There should not be any glue, tape, clay or anything else obstructing the wheels because this will slow down your car. Your wheels should also be aligned. This means they are all facing the same direction.  If they are not aligned, your wheels will work against each other and slow down your car.

    Make sure you sketch and plan wheel designs before you start making them so you are sure that your wheels are a low friction design and aligned!

Examples:

Plastic bottle balloon powered car design

www.sciencebuddies.org

Sketch for balloon powered car design

www.sciencebuddies.org

Balloon car with CD wheels

 

Plastic bottle car design:

 

Cardboard car design:

 

More examples here!

Instructions/conditions:

  • You will work in a team of 3 people. Make a name for your team!
    • One person per team is responsible for taking pictures and videos
    • One person per team is responsible for sketching the design concepts
    • One person per team is responsible for recording all times and distances travelled by your car
  • Make a labeled sketch of how you think your car design will look and work
    • Your sketch must be approved by your teacher before you begin making your car
    • You should update your sketch each time you make a major change to your design
  • Use the materials supplied in the basket. You may use other materials available in your classroom (check with your teacher)
  • Test your car’s speed and distance on the space marked out in your classroom
    • Use the iPad timer and record your times/distances on the sheet provided
  • Each team is allowed one visit to either Mr. Jerry or Mr. Sam for technical support

We will learn about problem solving, teamwork, and the design process as well as potential & kinetic energy, friction and resistance, and measurement.

Groups

Mr. Manley 
Red 
Mr. Blohm 
Black 
Ms. Grant 
Purple 
Ms. Williams 
Orange 
Mr. Flanagan 
Blue 
Mr. Gregory 
Green 
Eva
Jasmine
Jay
Ethan 
Emily
Lynn
Everett
Koki 
Christina
Vanessa
Justin
Rayan 
Julie
Sarah
George
Michael 
Angelina
Amy
Raphael
Lucas 
Jessica
Antoine
Leo 
Aiden 
Darren 
Claire 
Isla 
Jungyoon 
Ethan 
Evan 
Anthony Hou 
Gideon  
Jerry 
Caroline 
Chloe 
Prachi 
Luke 
Matthew 
Thomas 
Olivia 
Elizabeth 
Madeleine 
Zoe 
Adam 
Anton 
Crystal 
Sophia 
Justin W 
Nate 
Cera 
Emma 
Tim 
Carina 
Apple 
Jayden 
May 
Joyce 
Bill 
Isaac 
Cheyenne 
Ethan 
Haeun 
Felix 
Max 
Justin S 
Camilla 
Abby 
Ann 
Annie 
Aryan 
Chelsea 
Daniel 
Ethan 
Jasmine 
Felix 
Jason 
Jennifer 
Jonathan 
Justin 
Mika 
Leo 
Richard 
Romain 
Serena 
Siwoo 
Tamy 
Vivaan 
Yi Jia 
Tina 
O’Malley 
Sam X. 
Michael 
Jojo 
Lucy 
Cooper 
Jian 
Sophia 
Justin 
Leo 
Honey 
Lucas 
Tao 
Addy 
Evelyn 
Sam I. 
Ben 
Qiming 
Scarlet 
Jason 
Monica 
Michael C. 
Aadi 
Anthony 
Joyce 
Sumika  
Christine 
Cherry 
Max 
Grace 
Ansh 
Jia 
Michael Z. 
Junah 
Emily  
Boxuan 
Kevin 
Sheri 
Milo 
Nathan 
Cindy  
Caleb 
Daniel 

 

 

Good luck,

Mr. Sam and Mr. Jerry

Hour of Code 2018

Hour of Code is an annual event for schools organised by Code.org, a group that seeks to promote coding around the world, particularly supporting women and minorities. Typically, Hour of Code takes place in the first week of December, but the 200+ activities are available to explore anytime. It could be a good opportunity for you to increase the amount of coding you include in your teaching, or just to have options for fun end-of-year activities.

If you are interested in exploring Hour of Code with your students, we recommend you:

  • Have a group discussion about which students are interested in coding and what they may know already – perhaps skilled students could lead novice students
  • Take a look over the HoC activities library and offer students some choice about what/how they wish to learn
  • Consider incorporating robotics such as Edison (UES), MangoBot (LES) and Lego Mindstorms (UES-HS) either in-class or in the design lab(s)
  • Talk to anyone in Ed Tech for more specific ideas linked to your units

Outside of the Code.org library, there are other ways to explore coding with your students, including:

Happy coding and let us know if you would like any help or suggestions!

Sam

Grade 5: Extending arm with grabber


Grade 5 homerooms have been visiting the Design Lab to create an extending grabbing arm. Students have enjoyed following the sequence of steps to build the basic arm, then developing their own concepts for the grabber, depending on what they wish to pick up. In the testing phase, different objects are assigned points depending on how difficult they are to pick up. Students also have an opportunity to refine their design’s durability and performance with other materials and techniques.

G5 Extending Grabber slides

In the future, this activity could be developed further with links to math concepts, for example investigating the different acute and obtuse angles created by the arm. This design is really a prototype which could be further developed with lego Mindstorms or more advanced making techniques.

Grade 4: Earthquake-proof building

As part of Grade 4’s Earth Changes unit, a number of homerooms have visited the Design Lab to take part in a design challenge. Using limited materials, students are given the problem of how to design a building concept that will survive Mr. Jerry’s Earthquake Machine©.

G4 Earthquake Building

Grade 3 Load-bearing structure

Grade 3’s introduction to the Design Lab has been a challenge to design a load-bearing structure. They must plan and develop a structure using limited materials (and time) that supports as many steel ball bearings as possible.

As different homerooms have done the activity, Jerry and I have had to adjust some of the parameters because the students have been good at finding loopholes in the problem – making the challenge too easy in some cases. For example, we had to stop students from making “water towers” (by attaching popsicle sticks  to the sides of the cup like legs) because this was too strong and easy to make. After a couple of these adjustments, the challenge feels just right, and students are having to find more creative solutions.

Design Lab Load-bearing Tower

Grade 3 Space & Place

Grade 3 are currently working on their Space & Place unit, which focuses on the following NGSS standards:

5-ESS1.1 – Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.

5-ESS1.2 – Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

As part of the unit, students have been working on a sequence of activities in the Design Lab, including:

  • Constructing scale models of planets in the solar system
  • Constructing a scale model of the distance between planets in the solar system
  • Design Challenge: Mars landing module

To Scale: The Solar System”

Design Challenge: Mars Landing Module

Students examined the “Curiosity” Mars rover mission and explored some of the factors affecting the landing of the rover. Their design challenge is to create their own version of the landing module. Their craft needs to safely land a rover on the surface of Mars – in this case the “rover” is an egg that needs to land (without breaking) in the “drop zone” 2 storeys below – aided by their module design.

Constraints

  • Students must work to a budget, meaning they need to be intentional about the materials they use
  • The egg must not break during the final test
  • The module must land in the “drop zone”

“7 Minutes of Terror: Landing the Mars Rover”

Slides

G3 Space and Place

https://isbdragons.sharepoint.com/:p:/s/design/EcKiZJS28KxMiC05JmkUaFQBunRhKZe8s8OMWARUsTQJGg?e=KqjuxL

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