Category: Grade 4

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?

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 4: Systems Unit

Grade 4 have begun their Systems unit, exploring:

  • What makes a system?
  • How are systems interdependent?
  • How can systems change?

This post contains the resources for the Grade 4 Systems eBook.

Grade 4 Systems eBook:

 

  • ePub (for editing in Book Creator & iBooks)
  • PDF (for view only)

Part 1

Edison intro activities

BrainPop

Swift Playgrounds

Part 2

BrainPop

System map & infographic examples:

Final video example

Edison robots: intro activities

Grade 4 are practising using Edison robots, both as an engaging way to learn about coding and robotics as well as helping prepare for their upcoming unit on “Systems”.

We are running through a sequence of self-directed intro activities to help students understand:

  1. The different features of the robots, the various inputs (barcode, sound, light and digital upload via cable)
  2. The various commands & outputs (movement, sound, line tracking, stopping/avoiding lines & physical barriers)
  3. Some of the basic things Edison can do (driving, navigating, racing, tracing, sumo wrestling(!))

Shortly, we will upload some student videos, also attached are some activity sheets to give you an idea of how the learning material is structured.

 

 

While these activities are probably best suited to Grades 2-5, the learning sequence continues into more complex activities that would likely be applicable to higher grades. If you would like to know more, please get in touch!

Sam

Edison Robots

The Edison robot is a powerful, engaging tool for teaching Elementary students computational thinking and computer programming in a hands-on way.

With built-in sensors as well as lights, sounds and autonomous behaviour capabilities, Edison makes robotics education accessible to students of all ages.

Edison can:

  • Respond to light and sound
  • Follow lines and avoid obstacles
  • Communicate with other Edison robots
  • Connect to other Edison robots and LEGO bricks
  • And much more!

Edison robots can be programmed in different ways to suit students’ age/ability:

  • Printable barcodes that the robot reads as it drives over (simple)
  • “Ed Blocks” drag and drop block graphic language coding that students perform on iPad (intermediate)
  • “EdWare” hybrid coding app (block or script) (UES)
  • “EdPy” line based script coding using Python (advanced)

We can work with you and your team to plan some discrete or integrated robotics activities using Edison robots. Currently we have around 30 robots based in the ES Design Lab that we can play with in either the lab or in classrooms.

 

 

Grade 4: Balloon Powered Car Challenge

Hello Grade 4!

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

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, Mr. Geoff 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.

Good luck,

Mr. Sam and Mr. Jerry

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:

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