Magnet Engineering Design Challenge

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SWBAT use the Engineering Design Process to create a solution to problem involving magnets?

Big Idea

How can you use magnets to solve a problem?


10 minutes

I begin by showing my students this launch video.  This really helps to build excitement regarding the lesson.

I make sure everyone understands the expectations by asking what materials they need to use, what they need to do with the materials, and where the problem should be.  I also make sure they understand the three different ways that they can demonstrate their solution.


20 minutes

I give them a few minutes to roam around the classroom and look for problems they could address with magnets.  They also use the time to discuss their ideas with peers.  

Next I have them create a three column chart labeled Ideas, Benefits, Issues.  I demonstrate filling the chart by explaining an idea that would open the classroom door remotely, how it would help us, and then what design issues would come up.

I don't let them develop an idea until they have at least 3 in their chart, focusing on the process rather than product.  Once they have an idea, I ask them to commit to how they will represent their idea to the class, through video, a written paragraph and diagram, or a rehearsed presentation.

When they are actually ready to create their designs, I had enough disc magnets (30 or so for a dollar at the dollar store) for each student, but if they were just creating a drawing or creating a mock-up like the one in the video, they didn't really need the equipment.


30 minutes

After a few days, they demonstrate their solutions.  The students that drew pictures place them on their desks for a gallery walk, any students that chose to present their ideas do so, and we show videos from students that chose to record their explanations.