Intro to Types of Engineering – Hendel + Mui

Name of Unit

Intro to Types of Engineering


Keren Hendel

Brief Description

Our unit will introduce different types of engineering with a focus on the engineering design process.


engineering design process, fourth grade, dipersio, columbus, types of engineering

Number of Weeks


Week 1

Intro to Civil Engineering with Popsicle Bridges. We divided the kids into teams of 2-3 and gave each group 20 popsicle sticks, two clothespins, one zip-tie, and unlimited tape. We asked them to build bridges that were at least 3 popsicle sticks long and could hold as many textbooks as possible.

Week 2

Intro to Chemical Engineering: Oobleck — have kids figure out the best ratio between cornstarch and water to create a substance that turns into a liquid when you touch it (body temperature) and turns into a solid otherwise.

Week 3

Intro to Mechanical Engineering: Build a car that goes down a ramp with Legos and see how far it can go using momentum. Have the kids keep re-designing their car to make it go further, and have them figure out what components make the car go faster.

Week 4

Intro to Design Engineering: design a “hover craft” that stays in the air in a wind tunnel. Students will be given various household materials (paper, popsicle sticks, straws, paper clips, foam, aluminum foil, etc) and asked to design a structure that stays in the air when placed inside a wind tunnel created by a fan with a tunnel on top.

Week 5

Intro to Computer Science Engineering: Introduce kids to a simple programming game without computers. One STOMPperson acts as the computer and receives directions from the kids. The goal is for the kids to get the STOMPer to do simple tasks like throw away a piece of paper or touch a map all the way across the room (avoiding obstacles). We will run through a couple of these exercises and if there is time, talk about commands, if statements, etc. We also allow the kids to practice being the computers themselves and giving instructions in smaller groups.

Week 6

Computer Science Engineering Cont.: Introduce SCRATCH and conditional statements. Ask kids to write a simple program where if the avatar touches certain things, those objects will do something.

Week 7

Computer Science Engineering Cont.: Continue work on simple programs for those who needed more time and introduce those that are more advanced to other possibilities on scratch.

Week 8

Final Project Introduction: Build a city! Requirements (pick 3) 1. Build a sturdy structure that is 2 feet tall and can withstand an “earthquake” and a “tornado”. 2. Create a boat that can hold 25 pennies. 3. Build a bridge that is at least a foot long and can allow a lego car to pass between the cities. 4. Create a traffic system to control the flow of traffic in the city. This week’s focus was on initial design and planning.

Week 9

Final Project Continued. This weeks focus was building, testing, and redesigning.

Week 10

Final Project Wrap-up. This weeks focus was finishing with building, final testing, and sharing.

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