Brief Description: Students will use Lego pieces to implement the Engineering Design Process and build a chair for Mr. Bear

Grades: K-5

Time:  1 hour

Keywords: lego, EDP, user-centered design

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will design a sturdy chair that keeps a stuffed bear seated upright
  • Students will be exposed to the engineering design process
  • Students will familiarize themselves with the Lego pieces that they will be using for the rest of the semester
  • Students will practice their building techniques
  • Students will include user needs in their design criteria


  • NXT kits or Simple Machines kits or box of Legos
  • Stuffed bears


    1. Review sturdy building and different pieces.
      1. This lesson can be an extension of Sturdy Structures, but does not have to be.  


  • This lesson is also a good way to familiarize the students with the pieces in the NXT kits. Some of the NXT pieces are unintuitive so be sure to name the pieces and demonstrate how they attach (bushing, axle, pegs, beams, etc).


  1. Introduce the engineering challenge for this activity using the Engineering Design Process
    1. Identify the Problem: Mr. Bear needs somewhere to sit that is sturdy and will keep him sitting upright.
    2. Research: As a class, think about some different chairs and how a LEGO chair might be similar.
    3. Brainstorm: Have student partners think about how to build a chair and how they will work together.
    4. Choose and Plan: Have students draw their design.
    5. Create: Have students design and build. Review pieces that may be helpful such as the beams, pegs, bushings and axles.
    6. Test: Explain to the students that their design needs to pass three tests:
      1. Drop Test: The design must survive a drop from the ankle. (If using the NXT brick in their chair design, skip this test)
      2. Fit Test: The bear must fit in the chair.
      3. Sit-up Test: The bear must sit upright.
    7. Redesign: Have students redesign after failed tests until their design is sturdy and usable. Help students think of ways to make their chair sturdy (overlapping beams, strong shapes, etc.)
    8. Share: Come together as a class, let each student briefly share their chair and discuss:
      1. Difficulties encountered by students and how they fixed them.
      2. One compliment and one question for each chair.

Extensions and Modifications

  • The students can add things to the chair (foot rest, cup holder, etc)


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