Motorized Toy Project - Preparing the Pitch (Lesson 9)

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SWBAT create a short video to pitch their motorized toy prototype.

Big Idea

You have toiled with designing and testing a new motorized toy - how do you showcase your ideas?

The Need for the Lesson

This is the piece where student design teams connect all aspects of the project together. They will create a short video highlighting the research data and the completed prototype in action. 

Investigation Preparation & Summary

5 minutes

This is lesson nine of the Motorized Toy Project

Students will learn and use the vocabulary of engineers, defining problems, constraints and criteria for success. Students will experience the integration of skills across the curriculum as they delve into the project. (MS-ETS1.1 - Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.) Students will be asking the question and solving the problem - What toy design will best meet the marketing goals of MTI (Motorized Toy Company) and how will we develop it? (SP1 - Asking Questions and Defining Problems)

Students collaborate to design and implement a solution to the Request for Proposal letter sent from the fictitious toy company - MTI. (MS-ETS1.2 - Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.) Students will examine various gear ratios to determine which best meets the criteria and constraints of the problem defending their choice using data collected. (SP7 - Engaging in Argument from Evidence)

Students will construct and test multiple gear ratios and use the data collected to make and informed decision about their final product. (MS-ETS1.3 - Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.) Students must analyze the data they have collected. Some student groups may not actually meet the performance requirements set forth by MTI (Motorized Toy, Inc.) and may have to justify their choice of a gear ratio for the toy based on their interpretation of the best fit according to their data. (SP4 - Analyzing and Interpreting Data)

An important understanding for students in that engineering is an iterative process. They will build and test multiple gear ratios models to determine the optimal performance of the motorized toy. (MS-ETS1.4 - Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.) (SP2 - Developing and Using Models)

After implementing their successful solution, students will create a short video to promote their new product (WHST.6-8.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.)

The project models for students how scientific research, collecting data about gears and their performance, and societal desires in the form of the project request from Motorized Toy, Inc., theCrosscutting Concept of Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World.

This PBL is based on the curriculum developed by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) AWIM (A World in Motion) Motorized Toy Project. The original curriculum has great lessons and takes about 8 weeks to complete. The program is outstanding. My modifications are designed to allow the project to be completed in about 3 weeks. The time line allows students to experience a taste of the entire engineering design process required to bring a new product to market.

Kits are available for purchase on the SAW AWIM website - here. If you can partner with an SAE member, the member can apply for one new kit each year for your school. The form to apply for a free kits is here. I have partnered with an SAE member for several years and have three kits that allow me to run this project with all my classes at once.

A complete materials list for this lesson can be found in the resources section.

The NGSS Evidence Statement publication for middle grade engineering was used as a guide for verifying that all engineering standards could be observed in the Motorized Toy Project series of lessons. This video briefly explains that process.

All NGSS Evidence Statements for middle school can be found here

Students in Action

90 minutes

This is the final phase of your project. Your student design team will create a video to share your ideas for a new motorized toy as requested by MTI (Motorized Toy, Inc).

MTI has a few requirements for your video. 

  • Corporate name, logo and slogan
  • Include video of your motorized toy in action without the skin
  • Include video of your motorized toy in action with the skin
  • Gear ratio used
  • Similar toys on the market
  • Identify your customers
  • Identify why your customer would want this product

Your team will present your product proposal to MTI (Motorized Toy Inc.) representatives. Be prepared to share your video and answer clarifying questions. 

I try to schedule the pitch presentations on a day when I can also schedule visitors in the classroom. When students present their toy to someone from outside the classroom, I find the presentation to be of greater quality than if my students had just presented to the class. 

In this video, I explain how we use power point slides to create parts of the movie. This process has shortened the video creation timeline by several days.