Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Rolling into Summer or Elves at Work - Section 3: Criteria and Constraints for Toy Car Research


I have established the criteria with the students but not the parameters, for example, how straight does the vehicle need to roll to be considered moving forward in a straight path or where should the distance be measured from and to? End of the ramp to the back wheel?

In the past, students and I have discussed and set the parameters, but I am not sure that all students followed the discussion. These students became the technicians and left the scientific thinking to others.

Some students will already see this problem and will want to have these parameters set before they test. Today I will be asking them to work this out with their group and later we will debrief to discuss problems and solutions. I expect that some of these students will be uncomfortable with planning this out on their own. They have become accustomed to working this out with me, and have me be the authority on it.

By leaving this criteria parameters undefined, the technicians and the scientific thinkers will be encouraged to move into an uncomfortable scenario, which I hope will help them both grow as independent, resourceful learners.


  Problem-based Approaches: Exploration to Define Parameters for Given Criteria
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Rolling into Summer or Elves at Work

Unit 6: Engineering Opportunities
Lesson 3 of 5

Objective: SWBAT identify criteria that defines a 'good' toy car and test toy cars based on that critiera.

Big Idea: Engineers explore what works well on toy cars and dream of ways to improve the design.

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