Name of Activity Transportation Design
Author STOMP
Keywords Transportation, vehicle, client, Engineering Design Process, LEGO Building
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 4 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will act as real engineers to design a vehicle for a client that answers a specific client problem. Students will use the Engineering Design Process to solve the challenge.
Lesson Objectives: – Learn how to build for client specifications.
– Use the Engineering Design Process to achieve the goal.
– Connect LEGO building to real engineering.
Materials Needed: – LEGO Simple Machines kits for each student pair.
– ‘Client Design Bags’ – in attached file.
– ‘Transportation Design Book’ – in attached file.
Preparation and Set Up: – Make a copy of the ‘Transportation Design Book’ for each students.
– Collect materials for each client problem specified on the ‘Client Problems’ sheet to make up a ‘Client Design Bag’ for each student pair.

– Arrange students in pairs.
Necessary Background
The engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design:

Step 1. Identify the need/problem

Step 2. Research the need/problem

Step 3. Develop possible solutions

Step 4. Select the best possible solution

Step 5. Construct a prototype

Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)

Step 7. Communicate the solution(s)

Step 8. Redesign


Axle Extender
Connector Peg
Friction Peg
Pulley Wheel
Pulley Bands

Procedure Use the Engineering Design Process to explain and teach this lesson:

  1. Identify Problem: Have students identify the specific problem that their client has asked them to solve. Have students think about the props they are given for their problem and how these props change their design from a normal car to a vehicle with a certain purpose.
  2. Research: Have students look at pictures of vehicles that has solved a problem similar to the problem each group was given (See attached research).
  3. Brainstorm: Have students talk with their partners about ways to solve their client’s problem along with how they will work together as a team to solve the problem.
  4. Choose and Plan: Have student pairs agree on what and how to build their vehicles. Have students fill out the first few pages of the ‘Transportation Invention Book’. Each students planned design should look like their partners.
  5. Create: Have students build their design.
  6. Test: Each group will have to pass 4 tests the first two are given, the second two are invented by the group:
    1. Shake Test: The invention cannot break when shaken.
    2. Drive Test: – The vehicle must drive using the motor and battery pack.
    3. Group Invented Test – Should test some constraint of the clients problem.
    4. Group Invented Test  – Should test some constraint of the clients problem.
  7. Redesign: Have students redesign after failed tests. Tell students that this is normal and happens to all engineers. Help students look for solutions.
  8. Share: Students should complete their ‘Transportation Invention Book’.

This entire challenge will take between 2 – 4 class periods depending on the age level of the students and how efficiently the class works. The following is a 4-day breakdown of the activities: Day 1:

  • Introduce the challenge to the students by handing out one ‘Client Design Bag’ to each group.
  • Explain that each group has a different design problem with props to design a solution for (Props are the materials listed at the end of each client design card.
  • Tell students that they can take the props from the bag and design a solution for their client’s problem.
  • Have students fill out the planning section of their ‘Transportation Invention Book’.
  • Students should talk to their partners during this process to design the same vehicle.

Day 2:

  • Review the goals for the transportation design project.
  • Have students begin building their designs when they are finished with the design phase.
  • Take pictures of the students working, and of each groups project, to print out and let them put in their ‘Transportation Invention Books’.
  • At the end of this class bring the students together and talk about problems s tudents are having and ways that students have solved problems.

Day 3:

  • Have students continue building and testing their designs.
  • Continue to take pictures.

Day 4:

  • Finish up. Make sure that each group completes their ‘Transportation Invention Books’.
  • Let each group give a short presentation on their design.
    • Each group should present their client’s problem.
    • Each group should talk about ideas that they had to solve the problem.
    • Each group should share the tests that they put their vehicle through.
    • Each group should share their final project and Transportation Invention Book.
Extensions or Modifications: Extensions:
– Change vehicles to drive over a different terrain.
– Change vehicles to drive up a steep incline.
– Create specific extensions that relate to individual client problems.
– Have students create and advertisement for their design.
– Have students create an engineering design company and make their own business cards.

– It may be helpful for students to have a checklist attached to their Transportation Invention Book that helps them keep track of what they have done or have not done.
– You may want to wrap up with a class discussion. Ask the students:
— What building technique made your invention sturdy?
— What difficulties did you encounter?
— Describe what it was like to build your invention to size?
— What was the best part of this activity?

Reference 1
Reference 2
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