Industrial Engineers

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The students will make predictions about the distance toy cars travel using force and motion.

Big Idea

Engineers' practice of using scientific tools play a major role in the field of science.


2 minutes


I ask the students, "What do you know about engineers."  I also asked about industrial engineers. Because there were only a few hands, I allow these students to address the whole group. 


10 minutes


Based on the responses during the Elicit, I believe it is necessary to offer an immediate explanation of force and motion.  We begin by reading Force and Motion by Clint Twist.  The reading provides students with a basic framework for understanding how force and motion works and why it is important to scientists and engineers in particular.  


This reading is also an opportunity to provide students with the vocabulary necessary to discuss force and motion.  I say, "Listen very carefully to the words that describe force and motion.  Also listen for words telling about speed."


I say, "Share every thing you have learned about force and motion with your shoulder partner."  This will help reinforce their understanding.   I add, that we are going to demonstrate force and motion by using toy cars.  I want you to make a prediction about how far the cars will travel.    


10 minutes


The students make predictions using connector cubes as the standard unit of measure. Students will explore using a simple science tool - the ramp. Using various size toy cars, the students will measure the distance traveled by each car. The goal is to determine if the size of the car effects the distance traveled. We also used three cars that were the same basic shape and size.


Before each type of car was released, the students made a prediction about which car will travel the furthest distance and then wrote the prediction on a dry erase board.


I remind the students that we are using force and motion.  I also repeat that we want to see how far the cars will travel using the same force and the same motion when releasing.  I say, "Once you release your car, you will count the connector cubes to the point your car stops.  Make sure your ramps are aligned or side by side along with your cars."  The students release the cars on my que.



10 minutes

I reiterate the science concepts such as force, motion, and speed by reviewing them in a discussion with the students.  I discuss the scientific terms used in the book.  I say, "These terms can now become a part of your vocabulary. That means that you can use them to talk about the things we learn in science class."


It has become a primary goal of my mine as the teacher, to help students become comfortable with using scientific discourse that allows for fluent conversation.  As the year progress, we are engaging in an increased number of scientific investigations.  The expectations is that students will use the language of a scientists. 


3 minutes

The students have an opportunity to expand the investigation by using other objects like toy wheel chairs, balls, or circular logs to round down the ramp.  They can also increase the height of the ramp to determine if that makes a difference in the distance traveled by the objects used.


The students must use their own scientific thinking to find variables for the investigation.  It is my belief that allow the students to construct their own meaning and response to the investigation presented will bring about intellectual growth.  Therefore I say, "It is now your job to think like a scientist to come up with new ways to use the ramp and the cars."


As the students make new discoveries, I say, "Be sure to share your findings with your fellow scientists.  Remember, scientists share ideas."