Reflection: Relevance Egg Drop Engineering Project Part 4 - Section 2: Engage/Explore/Explain


When students are told by many adults in their lives that "failure is not an option" the idea of failure in the engineering process needs to be approached in a way that makes students understand that is is OK to "fail". It doesn't have any connection to a grade that will be given or that they aren't a good student, it just means that there can be improvements made on a design. 

After we completed the Egg Drop from the previous lesson, there were only 2 capsules that "failed". One groups' capsule, it was decided, had allowed the egg to bounce around too much inside of the plastic egg it was enclosed in. The other capsule that failed was created by a student with special needs (after her previous capsule was successful, she made changes to it which made her egg break). She got pretty upset when her egg broke and wasn't able to reflect on what didn't work.

When we returned to class we talked about what worked in the design and what didn't work and I had the students talk to their groups about this. They had all decided that they could make improvements on their designs even though most of them were successful. It's also important to make sure there is evidence of the failure. Students need to make a record of what happened and draw a sketch of the failure points of their design. Video footage or photos are also helpful as it's hard to remember how the capsule may have landed without the footage.

I reminded the students that it takes many trials and errors before an engineer comes up with a ideal design and that they need to constantly be going back and changing things in their designs. 

  Talking about Failure Points
  Relevance: Talking about Failure Points
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Egg Drop Engineering Project Part 4

Unit 3: Gravity
Lesson 11 of 11

Objective: SWBAT Identify failure points for their egg drop capsules and make adjustments to their design.

Big Idea: Part of the engineering process is to identify and correct failure points to improve the design. Students will test out a prototype and then make adjustments to it depending on how the capsule performs in the drop test.

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