Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning
Author Terry Greene, Merredith Portsmore, Abe Gissen
Keywords mousetrap, LEGO, sculpture, test, evaluate, redesign, prototype, engineering design process
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 4 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will construct a prototype of a part of the Mousetrap LEGO sculpture. They will test, evaluate, and redesign the part.
Lesson Objectives: To gain experience with and build an understanding of the steps of the engineering design process.
Materials Needed: LEGO Team Challenge kits for each group of 2 – 4
Computer running ROBOLAB
IR tower
MINDSTORMS for schools using ROBOLAB manual (in kits)
Designing a Mousetrap Sculpture Response Sheet

Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley
Poster of the design process

Various kinds of balls (tennis, golf, marbles, etc.)
Dominoes
Twine, string, or rope
Extra LEGO pieces for building, LEGO people, LEGO animals
Paper, tape, cardboard, oaktag, markers

Preparation and Set Up: Gather necessary materials.
Designate a spot in the classroom for project storage.
Make enough copies of the worksheet (attached) for every student in the class.
Arrange students into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Teachers should review the engineering design process so that they can emphasize the process in class (see attached document).

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Design
Evaluate

Procedure
  1. Begin by asking the small groups to sit next to each other.
  2. Review the charts form last class in which each team agreed to build of the parts of the Mousetrap Sculpture.
  3. Give each student a copy of the “Designing a Mousetrap” Worksheet.
  4. Explain that before any building starts, engineers draw and write their ideas down so that they can come back to them later in the project.
  5. Explain that the groups will be completing the worksheets together, each writing their ideas down.
  6. When students have completed the worksheet, review it with the team and save them later for review.
  7. Let students begin building.
  8. Check in with the groups at the start of the class. Help direct groups that are having trouble. Give them building ideas.
  9. Half way through the project have a check with the while class, setting clear time limits on finishing the project.
  10. Decide as a class the order of the parts of the mousetrap.
  11. Brainstorm how to connect the different parts.
  12. Set a timeline for the parts to be completed and for the presentation.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/2buildtestredesign.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/mousetrapoverview1.doc
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/designing_mousetrap_worksheet-1.pdf
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/designing_mousetrap_worksheet.pdf
Online Reference(s) http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html-MassachusettsScienceandTechnology/EngineeringCurriculumFramework(May2001),http://www.ceeo.tufts.edu/robolabatceeo/-CEEOCurriculumWebsite

Mousetrap Problem

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Mousetrap – Problem
Author Terry Greene, Merredith Portsmore, Abe Gissen
Keywords Engineering Design Process, problem, research, brainstorm, mousetrap, motor, sensor
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use steps of the Engineering Design Process to learn about a problem; Identify the Problem, Research the Problem, Brainstorm Possible Solutions. Students will be able to describe the need for mousetraps, different type of mousetraps and possible ways to trap a mouse.

The design challenge is for the students to work as a class to design and build a mousetrap sculpture that has at least nine movable parts, which are connected together. Small groups will work on each part. Each part must use one motor and one sensor.

Lesson Objectives: To understand the steps of the Engineering Design Process
Materials Needed: Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley
Poster of the design process
Easel with plenty of paper for drafting
Preparation and Set Up: Set up the classroom for easy classroom discussion.
Make a poster of the Engineering Design Process to use as an aid.
Procedure
  1. Have the students play the Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley.
  2. In a large group, discuss engineering:
    1. Ask if anyone knows an engineer.
    2. Ask what an engineer does
    3. Discuss what engineers do and what kinds of jobs use engineers.
  3. Display the steps of the Engineering Design Process. Go over each step on the poster and explain that, over the next few weeks, students will use all the steps; working like engineers to complete a challenge.
  4. Discuss the Mousetrap Game
    1. Ask individuals to share their favorite part of the game.
    2. Make connections to simple machines.
    3. Ask students how an engineer might have been involved in designing the game.
  5. Present the design challenge
    1. Tell the students that they are engineers working for a toy company.
    2. They have been asked to design a new toy to be modeled after the Mousetrap Game.
    3. The design challenge is for the students to work as a class to design and build a mousetrap sculpture that has at least nine movable parts, which are connected together. Small groups will work on each part. Each part must use one motor and one sensor.
    4. Explain that the students have already completed steps 1 and 2 of the Engineering Design Process
      1. Identify the Need/Problem
        1. By listening to what the teacher has assigned as the design challenge.
      2. Research the Need/Problem
        1. By playing the game.
  6. Have student brainstorm possible solutions (step 3 of the Engineering Design Process). Draw on math and science to articulate the solutions in two and three dimensions.
  7. Use an easel to record ideas and brainstorm possible ideas for different parts of the mousetrap.
  8. Try to make a list of about 25 possible parts of a mousetrap.
  9. Save these ideas for Day 2.

Day 2:

  1. Review the brainstorming session the class participated in on Day 1.
  2. Explain that the next step in the Engineering Design Process is to Select the Best Possible Solution to the Problem.
  3. Brainstorm a list of criteria for the mousetrap with the students.
  4. Go through the list of original parts and cross out ones that do not meet the criteria.
  5. Set up teams of students (usually 2 works best).
  6. Have each team talk about the different parts and decide on 2 – 3 that they would like to build.
  7. As a large group (whole class), decide which team will build which part of the mousetrap and record this on the easel.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/1ideascriteria-1.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/1ideascriteria.doc
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/mousetrapoverview.doc
Online Reference(s) http://www.ceeo.tufts.edu/robolabatceeo/-CEEOCurriculumWebsite
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Mousetrap

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