Toy Vehicle Design

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SWBAT design and explain how their toy vehicle plan meets the form and function criteria.

Big Idea

Engineering elves apply their research from the last couple of lessons to design their own toy vehicle blue print.

NGSS Connections and Class Preparation

30 minutes

In this lesson students prepare their design plans for building their own toy vehicle from local manufactures' discards. They start to conceptualize what may help the the vehicle roll straight and far as they discuss ideas with classmates and make sketches. 

The lesson will take about hour and a half. I have noted where you could break the lesson into two days.

NGSS Standards

K-2-ETS1-2.  Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Students apply what they learned about toy vehicles when the create a diagram for the toy vehicle they will build next week.

Science Practices

- Developing and Using Models (SP 2)

Toy designers develop a sketch of the toy vehicle prototype that they will build in the next lesson. Their design ideas are based on research conducted in the last 2 lessons.

Lesson Preparation

Copy the 'Toy Vehicle Design' form; one / student

Prepare images and/or collect toy vehicle material samples

Question for the Day and Parts to Roll

10 minutes

Science starts with a question, usually written on the board and with the students meeting on the rug. Students read and discuss the 'science question for the day'.

This routine with the kiddos keeps transition time short and effective while redirecting student's attention back to content. It provides time for students to consider today's topic before the lesson has officially begun.

Question for the Day: How does a diagram, help someone build a product or house?

I have a diagram / blue print projected on the board to help students understand the question.

Students turn to their should partner and share their answers. After students turn to face me, indicating they have completed sharing, I call volunteers to share their ideas which I write on the board. 

"Today you will make a diagram of your toy vehicle based on what you learned over the last couple of lessons and the materials that will be available for building.

What parts will you need so your toy vehicle design will roll? Please turn to your neighbor and share."

I listen to conversations to check that students include some of the parts that we learned about in the last lesson. Volunteers share their partners' answers. I list these parts on the board: Parts to include on my diagram.

"Great, so you all agree that the vehicles you will be building this week will have wheels, axle, axle tube, and chassis?"

"Is it possible that your vehicle may not have all the these parts?"

I want to open the discussion for students who may have other ideas about what they will want to incorporate or not into their toy vehicle design.

"We have listed the parts that will help the toy vehicle roll, let's list the: Possible Design Elements to Help it Roll Straight and Far." I write this title on the board.

"You did a lab to explore what helps a toy vehicle roll far and straight. Please take out your observations on this lab and sit with your research team. Each team needs to bring a highlighter pen to the rug too."

Design Elements

15 minutes

I direct the students to meet with their research and development teams and review their lab notes. Teams discuss what they may include on their toy vehicle design to help it go far and straight.

"With your team highlight any of your observations that could help you design your car so that it will roll straight and far."

After teams have completed highlighting, teams share their observations which I write under the title: Possible Design Elements to Help it Roll Straight and Far.

"When you create your designs today, remember to check your observations and the design element list to help you decide what you may want to include on your toy vehicle to help it roll far and straight."

"Let's get started on your designs! Please return to your desks."

Diagram: Toy Vehicle Basic Elements

20 minutes

I pass out the forms that students will use to create their diagrams.

"On your design paper, page 2, write the number of wheels, axles, axle tubes and chassis your toy vehicle design will have. Then write what materials you may choose to use to attach these parts. Some of your attachment choices will include hot glue or tape."

Asking students how the materials will be attached helps them think through which parts need to spin, and how they will keep the wheels on.

I noticed that some students started to write the materials that they would use to build their vehicle versus indicating the materials used to put the pieces together. I will need to check for understanding before students fill this section out next time.

When everyone has completed this section, I project the images of the materials that will be available for students to use on their building day.

"These are some of the materials that you can choose from to build your vehicle. I want to show them to you so you can start to plan which materials you may want to use for your vehicle parts. I only want you to label the 'rolling parts' on your diagram, not the materials you will use. Later you will write that information on page 3."

"Before you start your diagram, look over your last lab to help you think about how you will make your toy vehicle blue print. I give students a couple of minutes to review their diagrams.

By providing time I am encouraging my students to connect their previous learning to today's task.

After a couple of minutes I signal for students' attention and ask what they noticed on their diagrams from last week that could help them with their vehicle blue print today.

I call on a couple of volunteers. If more students want to share, I direct them to turn and share with their partners and then direct the students to work on their vehicle blueprints.

Some students expressed an interest in building the vehicle with a partner, which was o.k. with me.

I walk around the room, to ask questions about their diagrams. I ask how the parts will be connected or which materials they think they may use for the chassis, wheel, axle and axle tube. I remind students to only label the rolling parts of the vehicle.

As students finish, I direct students to share their diagrams with their table partners.

"Show your design to your neighbor and point out the wheels, axles, axle tubes and chassis."

This would be a good spot to end the lesson. The next section could be 'day 2' of Toy Vehicle Design.

Roll Straight and Far Design Elements

15 minutes

This next section could be started on another day.

I signal for students to meet me on the rug with their lab paper.

"It is important that you have a basic design plan and some ideas about which materials to use. So when it is your time to build, you can use your time putting together your vehicle."

I show the labeled materials so students can identify them by name.

"These are the materials that will be available. Please turn to your neighbor and discuss all the materials that you could possibly use for the chassis."

I continue the same questioning format for the wheel, axle and axle tube. Then I direct students to return to their desk to fill in the top part of lab page 3. I encourage them to list all possible materials for each function.

When I see students have completed this section, I signal their attention to explain how they will fill out the rest of the page.

"You all have discussed some elements that the toy vehicles had that helped them roll straight and far." I point to the list that the students developed earlier in the lesson. 

"The 2nd chart will help you think about how to include these elements and the possible material designs you will need. You may not need to fill in all the lines. It will depend on your design."

"On the left column, you will write the elements that you may want to include on your vehicle and on the right column, write the materials you may want to use to help with your design elements."

"For example, if I wanted to 'add weight'. 'Add weight' is my design element, I would write this on the left column. Then on the right column I would list the materials that I could use for this design element."

After you have finished your 2nd chart, on the front cover make a final sketch of your toy vehicle prototype.


10 minutes

"Later this week you will get to build and test your toy vehicle prototype. Your diagram you made today will help you how?"

I call volunteers to share their ideas, and then summarize.

"This will be your blueprint, so when you build your prototype, you have a plan to follow and will have a good idea about the type of materials you will want to use. For example, if you need an axle tube, you will be looking for a tube that your axle can slide in and the material to attach it to the chassis."

I ask students if they noticed anything else about each others' designs.

The kiddos usually share perspectives that I do not always anticipate. This question provides a way to check in with how the students perceived the lesson

I collect the two previous labs to review, since students will not need to reference these. I will check that the labs are complete.

Students place their blueprints on the back table. Before students build their vehicles, I will review the diagrams to check if students have identified the 'rolling parts' and if their blueprint shows an understanding of how they will put the parts together.

I also review students' ideas on how to make the vehicle roll farther or straighter to see if there are ideas that can be incorporated into the first phase of building. If so, I note this so that I can discuss this with the student.