Transportation Design





Name of Activity

Transportation Design




Transportation, vehicle, client, Engineering Design Process, LEGO Building


Simple Machines

Grade Level

K, 1, 2, 3


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 Vocabulary:


Axle Extender




Connector Peg

Friction Peg




Pulley Wheel

Pulley Bands




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.

  • Redesign: Have students redesign after failed tests. Tell students that this is normal and happens to all engineers. Help students look for solutions.
  • 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:

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