Comparing Speed and Distance

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Students will be able to compare distance or speeds an object can travel using visual models.

Big Idea

Students will view a photo of a Rube Goldberg machine. They will analyze the parts of the whole to compare speed and distance of the objects.


1 minutes

Warm Up

10 minutes

I will begin this lesson by introducing a visual model of a Rube Goldberg invention. I will ask the students, what problem is this invention trying to solve? We will discuss if the design of the model seems efficient and why. After a class discussion regarding the Rube Golberg photo, I will inform the students that most engineers are designing models, they do not use such elaborate models to solve problems. In fact, engineers design models by analyzing the different parts of their design and how they can work together efficiently to solve problems. 


25 minutes

I will ask the students to take a look at the Rube Goldberg invention once again. This time, I will ask them to analyze the design and think about speed and distance. Does this design provide opportunities to compare the two? We will discuss this as a class. I will share with the students the steps in the Elementary Engineering Design Process. I will gain feedback from the students about whether they believe that the engineer responsible for the design in the picture, used the Elementary Engineering Design Process to create this design. 

Students will work together to review each step of the design process to determine how each step could have been applied to create this Rube Goldberg type of invention. Students are analyzing the Elementary Engineering Design Process to gain a better understanding of how the process works. We will be using this design process often this year, and it is important for the students to have a full knowledge of the steps and how they are beneficial. Allowing the students to analyze the steps in comparison to an actual model, helps to further their understanding of the process because students can apply the process to a real world situation. Students can also make connections to the design process and actual models, which they can reference in the future.

Students will share out their findings with the class. Next, we will discuss how models can be used to test an engineering design solution. 

Wrap Up

10 minutes

As a whole group conversation, the class will discuss how the parts of the model work together to change an object's speed or distance traveled and achieve desired results.