The Engineering Design Process is a great way to get your students active with some hands-on STEM project work! This product will work for both students who are new to the Engineering Design Process and those who have experience.
This design challenge asks students to build a balloon powered car out of recyclable materials! Simply photocopy the Portfolio for each student and they are ready to collect recyclable materials and get to work! This project is a highlight of the year for many of my students! My favorite part of this project is seeing struggling students 'blossom' and find success in science!
The portfolio focuses on the step-by-step Design Process and gives students a place to record their work on each step as they progress through the project. The pages of the portfolio use a colored octagon icon to identify each step in the 8 step process. Each page includes charts, places to record ideas and drawings, and step-by-step guidance through the math calculations (speed, average speed, average distance of their car) and graphing of data (distance-time graph). If any of the math is not age-appropriate for your students, you can leave those pages out of the portfolio. The portfolio is designed for students to be working in small groups of 3-4 students, but you could modify the set-up if needed.
This is a 17 page PDF document:
Page 1: Cover
Page 2: Thank You
Page 3: Student Introduction Info Sheet
Page 4: Student Portfolio Grading Rubric
Page 5-14: Design Process Student Portfolio
Page 15: Suggested Research Links that you can use with your class to introduce the design process and project to them and help them come up with ideas
Page 16: General Tips from a veteran of this project (me!) :)
Page 17: Group Feedback Form that students use to assess their group-mates at the end of the project
This project takes my middle-schoolers between 10-15 class periods (45mins) to complete, depending on how in-depth we go and how many problems they might run into. You could shorten that time frame by doing more of the project as a whole class or by having some work done at home. You could lengthen that time frame by going more in-depth in research, trial-and-error building, and the redesign step.
LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN!
STEM Engineering Design Challenge Portfolio: Balloon Cars
by Andrea Twardzicki
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License