If you’re looking for something different to engage your students as the school year is winding to a close, consider this fun and easy engineering design lab! Students must work together as a team to create a convenient way for someone using crutches or a wheelchair to carry a small personal item.
Students will follow the eight steps of the engineering design process as they:
1. Identify the problem or need.
2. Research the problem or need.
3. Develop possible solutions.
4. Select the best possible solution.
5. Construct a prototype.
6. Test and evaluate the solution.
7. Communicate the solution.
The materials for this activity are inexpensive and you might already have most of them lying around your classroom: manila folders, copier paper, yarn or string, cups, rubber bands, and duct tape. Your students will be more than happy to provide a small personal item (cell phone, iPod, soda can, wallet, keys, book, etc…). It is helpful to have access to a wheelchair and pair of crutches for this lab.
My school nurse was more than happy to let me borrow them, but you could also ask for donations ahead of time.
This lab supports the following Massachusetts Technology/Engineering Standards for students in Grades 6-8:
1.3 - Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process, i.e., identify the need or problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, select the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign.
2.2 - Demonstrate methods of representing solutions to a design problem, e.g., sketches, orthographic projections, multiview drawings.
2.3 - Describe and explain the purpose of a given prototype.
2.4 - Identify appropriate materials, tools, and machines needed to construct a prototype of a given engineering design.
2.5 - Explain how such design features as size, shape, weight, function, and cost limitations would affect the construction of a given prototype.
7.1 - Explain examples of adaptive or assistive devices, e.g., prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, grab bars, hearing aids, lifts, braces.
If you like this lab, you might also be interested in my
Build a Boat! Engineering Design Lab
Protect a Pringle Engineering Lab!
Support a Cement Block Engineering Design Lab!
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