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* *Reflection: Perseverance
Students Create Rube Goldberg Contraptions - Section 3: Students Construct, Test, and Redesign Their Contraptions

Maybe it's my age or the number of years that I've spent in the classroom, but the presence of tasks promoting perseverance in my classes are the ones that students love the most. The challenge then is balancing rigor and student-centered environments with the development of characteristics that will produce problem-solving citizens.

As sixth graders, many of my students - and your's too - have probably never engineered many items, so the expectations for output is important, but not nearly as important as boosting confidence. If students are confident than they are more likely to try harder, resulting in better performance in school.

If this confidence and perseverance persists, students are more likely to have the necessary skills to be successful in many different fields, many of which haven't yet been developed. Building perseverance comes down to many factors, but in our classes we can encourage risk taking by having kids work in groups and emphasizing the time students spend reflecting and refining their thoughts.

As you plan lessons for your classes, ask yourself if you are planning time for reflection and refinement. If not, try setting aside time for students to perform these tasks in class or rethink your homework assignments. If you're assigning homework for the sake of giving it, then maybe you could instead ask students to reflect on their designs and experiences and think about how they persevered to overcome obstacles. These factors, when performed over many years, may build student confidence and their ability to persevere.

*Encouraging Perseverance and Growth Mindset*

*Perseverance: Encouraging Perseverance and Growth Mindset*

# Students Create Rube Goldberg Contraptions

Lesson 11 of 11

## Objective: SWBAT: Build an actual Rube Goldberg contraption that demonstrates their understanding of energy transformations.

At this point students have had substantial exposure to energy transformations and forms of energy. They have used several simulations to help them deepen their understanding of these topics, while developing some engineering skills, too. It is now time for them to apply their knowledge to build a Rube Goldberg contraption with at least 3 or 4 (depending on the class) parts that makes a ball move.

Prior to implementing this lesson, you must gather materials that are safe and appropriate for student use. I generally have items, such as textbooks, balls, meter sticks, pipe insulation that is cut in half, and whatever else is around the room.

This lesson once again builds understanding of the following standards:

MS-PS3-5, MS-ETS1-1 through 1-4

SEPs 1 and 6

Students are assessed on their ability to identify the energy transformations that are taking place and reflections that discuss challenges faced and how they overcame them.

#### Resources

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After students identify the problem or challenge--in this case constructing a successful Rube Goldberg contraption with at least 3-4 parts--it is time for students to design possible solutions, share their ideas with their groups, and then pick the best design to follow.

I give individual students about 5 minutes to brainstorm ideas and then ask them to share their ideas, one at a time, with their entire group.

This is a video of students planning their design.

Students then decide which design, or parts of a specific design, to incorporate into their final design. Students are then asked to design a final blue print of their design, which must be approved by me before they begin constructing. The final design must have a detailed explanation of the types of energy transformations that are taking place between each part.

Once the contraption is approved, students are able to gather their materials and begin constructing.

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Now that students have designed their contraption and determined which materials they would like to use, they gather their materials and begin constructing their designs. As they are building, they may soon realize that their design isn't going to work.

They are encouraged to problem solve and create a contraption that functions properly. As they alter their designs, they should document the changes that they made and explain the intentions of each change. As they're constructing, I am circulating around the room asking students to reflect on their experiences and how this challenge is related to energy. In particular, I want them to notice that if something doesn't have enough energy to function then it needs more stored energy to make it work.

Here are a few videos of students' Rube Goldberg contraptions:

Students model their designs and we have a class discussion about the types of energy transformations that are taking place in each contraption, helping students solidify their conceptual understanding of energy transformations.

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- LESSON 1: Day 1: Engineering Paper Towers
- LESSON 2: Day 2: Paper Tower Blueprints
- LESSON 3: Day 3 and 4: Building Paper Towers
- LESSON 4: Paper Towers Day 5
- LESSON 5: Designing and Constructing Marshmallow Catapults to Deepen Understanding of Energy
- LESSON 6: Catapults Day 2: Creating Orthographic Projections
- LESSON 7: Engineering Aluminum Foil Boats
- LESSON 8: Aluminum Foil Boats Day 2
- LESSON 9: Engineering the Best Balloon Jouster!
- LESSON 10: Build the Best Balloon Jouster Day 2
- LESSON 11: Students Create Rube Goldberg Contraptions