Name of Activity Aqueduct Build
Author Devyn Curley Camille Mbayo
Keywords Water tight, Flow due to gravity,
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3,4,5,6
Time 60 minutes
Brief Description With the design problem of “how can design and build a structure to transport water from one place to another?” students will work in pairs to assemble an aqueduct with the materials given, making efforts to eliminate leaked with water tight joints.
Lesson Objectives:
  1. Students will understand the importance of the invention of the aqueduct
  2. Students will begin to understand the concept of potential energy
  3. Students will learn the importance of water tight joints
Materials Needed:
  • Straws (4 per group)
  • Two paper cups
  • Duct Tape (4″ per group)
  • Scissors
Preparation and Set Up: Make sure each group has plentiful paper and that materials are divided up before the lesson so students can just grab them when they are ready.
Necessary Background The history and importance of aqueducts (why and how they were invented), understanding of need of potential energy.
  1. Perform skit, where STOMPers play a previously nomadic tribe finally planning to settle down in a “sweet spot”. Explain problem of lack of water, and brainstorm ways to solve that problem, leading them to aqueducts.
  2. Discuss water flow, and how they need to utilize that concept by having their reservoir higher than their sweet spot. Encourage them to use books and other materials in the classroom
  3. Provide the students with paper to brainstorm and design the aqueducts
  4. Approve designs and distribute materials
  5. Help students troubleshoot problems such as leaks or straw placement, specifically how the straw needs to be inserted low into the reservoir cup, and secured anywhere on the sweet spot cup as long as this end of the straw is lower than the other end.
  6. Give students the option of requesting more duct tape, cups, or straws upon an acceptable proposal to their “supervisor,” the STOMPer. Fulfill these requests at your discretion.
  7. If students finish early with no leaks, challenge them to make their aqueduct longer, providing additional resources if necessary. This will keep more advanced students challenged while other classmates work on the original challenge. (If the structure is longer, the water is more likely to cause the straws to bend. Therefore encourage students to implement supports in between their cups).
  8. Have each pair test their aqueduct in front of the rest of the class as they share out what they did well, what obstacles they faced, and what they would do with more time and physical resources. Use these as an opportunity to point of specific qualities of a design such as efficient use of tape, good joints via use of tape/interlocking straws, and how water flows faster with a greater height difference between the cups.
Extensions or Modifications:
  • Arch building or more materials to support the aqueduct as opposed to materials found in the class
Previous Activity (if applicable)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)


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