Aluminum Foil Boats Day 2

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SWBAT design and test other designs that hold more cargo to reflect on overall design challenges, constraints and crosscutting concepts.

Big Idea

Crosscutting Concepts enable students to make connections to other disciplines and phenomena. This lesson sets out to enable students to redesign their boats and reflect on what they learned.


On day one students made their first boat design and collected data on other students' designs. Specifically, they performed P.E.O.E.s on each boat test and now have an extensive data table that can be used to deepen understanding about structure and function. Students can also be asked to connect the structure (volume) to the function (number of markers being held in boat).

This lesson continues to work towards developing understanding of several engineering standards and uses CCC (structure and function) to add rigor, in the form of deep analysis, to the lesson.  

Students will be asked to recreate their boat, based on the outcome of other tests. Their goal is to create a boat that can hold more markers than their first attempt. Following the same general structure from this lesson, students will make a sketch of their new design, create a P.E.O.E., and build a new boat in 3 minutes time.  We then record the new amounts of markers on the board, which will be analyzed later in class.  

Sharing Reflections from Day 1

5 minutes

Student will begin by sharing their experiences from yesterday which will drive their decisions for their redesigned boats.

This video shows students using a piece of paper to create a model, prior to them actually building their boat.  Models aren't just for explaining how phenomena occur, they should be used by students to communicate potential solutions to engineering challenges, as well.  

Students Construct and Test New Boats

30 minutes

Following the same procedures as yesterday, students will be asked to design a new boat by making a sketch, be given another piece of AL foil, and build and test their new solution. 

Making Connections to Crosscutting Concepts (Structure and Function)

15 minutes

Crosscutting Concepts effectively tie together various concepts that students have learned.  In particular, this lesson ask students to analyze the relationship of structure and function.  I ask students to work in their groups to address the following question:

"How does structure (volume) determine function (how many markers a boat can hold)?"

Students begin by copying down this table that has been logged all class after each test.  They use this data to support their arguments for the above question.

Here is an example of me having a conversation with a student, as they analyze this Crosscutting Concept.  

This video discusses the table that is created to show the changes in results from attempt number one and two.  Notice the general increase in the number of markers and how that correlates to an increase in volume.