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 select the appropriate materials and build a boat that will support the weight of 25 pennies for 30 seconds.
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.
Students will also experience what it is like to deal with constraints. They will have to design and build their boat while staying within a budget.
The materials for this activity are inexpensive and you might already have most of them lying around: wax paper, coffee filters, duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, plastic wrap, plastic straws, popsicle sticks, and at least 25 pennies. The file is a .docx so feel free to modify to meet the needs of your class!
This lab supports the following Massachusetts Technology/Engineering Standards for students in Grades 6-8:
• 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.
• Demonstrate methods of representing solutions to a design problem, e.g., sketches, orthographic projections, multiview drawings.
• Describe and explain the purpose of a given prototype.
• Identify appropriate materials, tools, and machines needed to construct a prototype of a given engineering design.
• Explain how such design features as size, shape, weight, function, and cost limitations would affect the construction of a given prototype.
If you like this lab, you might also be interested in my Support a Cement Block Engineering Design Lab!
and my Protect a Pringle Engineering Lab!
© 2013 Adventures in Science
Permission to copy for single classroom only.
This file may not be shared with others.
Cover page graphics by:
Glitter Meets Glue Designs