COMPLEX PROBLEMS, SIMPLE MACHINES Activity # 1 - Wheel and Axle Approximate Time Required 2 hours over 2 days Key

Question Can you create a self-propelled train? Student Learning In addition to the competencies listed in the next section, students will: • develop a plan to build a self-propelled train and prepare a drawing of what it will look like, • build the train and test it, and • demonstrate the train to the class and explain how it works. Competencies Science and Competency 1: To take action, bearing in mind the different types of reasoning specific Technology to science and technology Competencies • The student defines a problem related to science and technology • The student proposes a solution to the problem • The student implements the proposed solution he/she has chosen • The student assesses the results Competency 2: To appreciate how human activities are influenced by the specific contributions of science and technology • The student describes how science and technology are used in human activities relating to a problem • The student considers the nature of science and technology as it relates to the problem CrossCompetency 2: To solve problems Curricular • The student analyzes the components of the situational problem Competencies • The student creates a model of the situational problem • The student formulates possible solutions Intellectual • The student selects a solution • The student implements the solution • The student evaluates his/her procedure Areas of Lifelong Learning World-View The student gradually constructs a dynamic world-view that gives meaning to his/her life

Constructivist Activity Steps Role of Teacher Engage Present the students with the problem: Create a self propelled train. Present pairs of students a box of materials with which to work to create their train. Role of Student

Individual Predictions

Ask students to plan their trains and Create a plan to build a selfprepare drawings of what they will look like. propelled train and prepare a drawing of what it will look like. Group predictions Place students in groups. Ask students to Evaluate the plan of each group evaluate the plan of each group member and member and choose one they think to choose one they think will work best. will work best. Place the plan of this Train in their logbooks. Activity/Experiment Ask groups to build the train they chose and Build the chosen train and test it. test it. Group discussion Ask students to answer the following Answer teacher questions and questions: Does the train work? What works record answers in log book. well? What do we need to know for next time? Tell students to record the answers to these questions in their log books. Ask each group to demonstrate their train Demonstrate trains to the to the class, and to explain how it works. class and explain how they Also ask students to discuss their answers work. Discuss answers to the to the questions discussed in their groups. questions discussed in groups. (See (See above.) above.) The trains students created needed wheels and connected by an axel to work. (See Background Information for Teachers in Project Overview.) Vocabulary related to the concept should be introduced and developed at this point in relation to what the students have already experienced increating their designs.

Group reports why predictions were accurate or inaccurate

Short explanation

Apply to new situation

Depending on the class, time, and interest, the teacher can make a choice as to the next step. Students can be presented with the opportunity to perfect their trains or apply the knowledge they have learned to a similar task. (See extension activity)

Vocabulary List Wheel: A solid disk or a rigid circular ring connected by spokes to a hub, designed to turn around an axle passed through the center. Axle: The pin or spindle on which a wheel revolves, or which revolves with a wheel. Evaluation Ideas Teacher Evaluation and Student Self-Evaluation • For evaluation purposes, it is recommended that students have a record of their creation either in the form of a (digital) photograph, drawing, or the train itself. Their plan should be included in their records. • This will be an example of the student’s prior knowledge and a good basis for authentic evaluation. If completing the extension activity it is recommended that another record be collected to demonstrate the growth in student learning. • For portfolio purposes, students can include their (digital) photos, plans, and observation charts. A portfolio provides a clear record of whether students were able to: a. Define the problem (the students’ plan) b. Propose a solution (the students’ plan) c. Implement the proposed solution - build the train d. Assess results - test the train and log observations Extension Students will apply the knowledge they have learned to a similar task in this follow-up activity. Students are asked to build a self-propelled, rubber band powered train. Materials (per group): • wire • wheels • glue • rubber bands • wood of different sizes and shapes • propeller • saw Teacher Comments from Field Testing • Save the trains from this activity for the next activity. Students will first remove parts from the trains and then use the trains in the inclined-plane activity. • Pairs of students worked best. • A collection of shoeboxes or small bins will help maintain the distribution of materials. • This activity should be divided up over a couple of sessions to ensure students have ample time to plan, create, and evaluate. However, the activity should be

completed within a two-day span. • It is important to focus on students' prior knowledge (their plans and creations from the exploration stage) and the observations made and logged. This allows the teacher and student to monitor their individual learning progress. It is also a good means of maintaining authentic evaluation. • It is important to monitor materials so they stay within the classroom. This will avoid conflicts in the schoolyard when students take their creations out of the classroom environment.

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