Reflection: Complex Tasks Engineering Project: Straw Structure to Hold A Cup of Water - Section 5: Wrap Up


I was surprised to see that only one group in my first class completed a project they were willing to have tested.  I had a couple of groups just give up with at least ten minutes left to build, and two other groups completed a project that would not stand.  I was very disappointed in their lack of perseverance to get this task completed.  They did tell me they thought the limitations were too difficult, especially the amount of tape allowed, so that may be one thing I change in the future.  The second class did much better, all groups completed a testable project, although not all would hold the water, they were all testable. 

The winning group in the first class was the only group to test their project and it was simply a straw platform that was only 2 cm off the table.  The other groups were upset because it said the tallest and that was not tall.  I told them by default, the 2 cm project was the only one to meet the task deadline and requirements and therefore won.  We had a conversation about possible ideas on simple things they could have done with the straws such as standing them up in a bundle and taping them together.  I told them these projects don't have to be masterpieces, they just have to get completed and meet the requirements given on the task cards.  While we reflected on the new planning sheet, I did point out that the research part of the process has not been a focus in groups like it should be.  Most groups are just looking up pictures and finding one they like.  I want them to compare structures and identify what parts they feel make them stronger than some of the other designs they see.  I told them that researching would be a focus in our next project so we can continue to get better.  Hopefully on the next project this will help and groups will not give up.  

  Perseverance with difficult tasks
  Complex Tasks: Perseverance with difficult tasks
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Engineering Project: Straw Structure to Hold A Cup of Water

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 13 of 16

Objective: SWBAT work through the steps of the Engineering Design Process to build the tallest structure from straws that can hold a cup of water for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Big Idea: Students act just as real scientists to research, plan, build, test, and rebuild the tallest structure, made of nothing but straws and tape, that can hold a cup of water for 30 seconds.

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36 teachers like this lesson
Science, Scientific Method (Science Skills), engineering, Cooperative Groups
  120 minutes
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