Reflection: Perseverance Engineering Project: Balloon Car - Section 4: Explore


This was not an easy task for students to accomplish.  Many groups built cars only for them to fail (Video of Student testing failed car). They got very frustrated and some groups wanted to give up.  I encouraged them to continue working on their car, trying to make improvements so that the cars would work.  Some groups needed a little more motivation than others.  To help those groups that became very frustrated, I helped by asking them questions about their car to try and help lead them to some areas that could be preventing it from moving.  

For example, one groups had their axles taped on to the bottom of the car so that the axles could not spin.  I had to explain to them how a real car works and what axles even are.  This was a vocabulary term that they did not know.  

Another group had a car with wheels that were too small and the box they were using dragged the ground.  I explained friction to them and asked them what they thought might help reduce this friction.  They ended up changing the wheels to something larger.  

The group with the winning car, changed it several times.  They could not get their car to work and almost gave up, but I pointed out a couple of things to them, such as the balloon dragging.  They put in a craft stick to help hold up the balloon so it would not drag.  They also did not notice that their wheels were rubbing against the body of their car.  I pointed this out to them and asked them if they thought that might stop the car from moving.  They moved the wheels farther from the body and tested it again.  After those two adjustments, the car was rolling.  This car ended up being the class winner and I used their perseverance as an example for the others in the class.  

  Perseverance: How to Encourage Students to Persevere With Difficult Tasks
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Engineering Project: Balloon Car

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 15 of 16

Objective: SWBAT work through the engineering design process to plan, build, and test a car powered by a balloon.

Big Idea: Students act just as real scientists do, to create and test a vehicle they have designed, that is powered by only a balloon.

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