Friday, January 18, 2013

Building an Egg Racer and an Interest in Engineering

I teach an after school class at our local school which the people who run it call "Eggineering".  In this class, well, I call it a class, but really it is an after school program that extends learning without being too school-like.  I have 5 one hour session in which I have fourth and fifth graders build a car I call an Egg Racer.  This idea was taken from another school which has all of their fifth graders build the car.

I don't have any photographs today, but will take some next week, but I thought I would share the initial write-up and the lesson on engineering drawing.

Last year I spent an hour working with the students on the engineering design process, but had a difficult time getting them to follow the process.  So this year, I decided I would concentrate on teaching them to draw their ideas, and the requirements, and then just let them go build.

Here is the writeup.

Eggineering:  Designing an Egg Racer

Team Members:         _________________________________

Design Brief:  Your team has been assigned to design and build a fast, convertible sports car.  This car should allow a driver, an uncooked egg, to “drive” down a track going down the track and across the floor as far as possible.  In addition, the driver must survive a crash test on 6 foot track, crashing into a barrier.

Design Requirements: 
·      You will use parts from given design kit.
·      Car must not be wider than 12 ½ cm, including wheels and axles.
·      The car must not be longer than 24 cm.
·      The car must be open topped ( nothing above the egg’s head).
·      The total weight of the car and egg must be less than 10 ounces.
·      The car must include at least one of the following safety devices: seat belt, air bag, and/or rollbar/cage.
·      The egg’s face (a circle one inch in diameter – use a quarter) must not be covered so he can see the road. 
·      The egg may wear a safety helmet.
·      The egg must be able to get out of the car easily so he can be inspected for injury after the crash test.

Design Criteria:  Your team’s car will be judged on the following items:
·      Operation of the car, how far it moves down the track and how well it protects its passenger
·      Elegance of design and your engineering drawing
·      Use of available resources
·      Reliability (how consistently your car performs)
·      Ease of use (how easily your egg can be put in and taken out of the car)

Eggineering:  Designing an Egg Racer

Evaluation Guidelines

Judgment Criteria
Maximum Points
Track Performance (1 point for each foot of travel beyond the track)

Crash Test Performance
(10: no cracks; 5: minor cracks; 1 major cracks; 0: completely smashed)

Repeatability of Car Performance (how far car repeats distance performance on each of 3 trials)
(5: excellent; 3: average; 1: poor)

Ease of use (can you easily get your egg in and out of the car) (5: excellent; 3: average; 1: poor)

Creativity:  How innovative is your car design, is it a Maserati or a Kia? (5: excellent; 3: average; 1: poor)

Did it meet design requirements:
 (5: excellent; 3: average; 1: poor)

How good is your engineering drawing?
(5: excellent; 3: average; 1: poor)

Total Score:


·      Pipe cleaners: 2
·      Straws: 1
·      Craft sticks: 3
·      Cardboard
·      Wheels: 4
·      Axles: 2

·      Glue gun with teacher’s assistance
·      Tape
·      Scissors
·      Rulers
·      Scale
·      Glue

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