Lesson 4

Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier

Improving a Factory Subsystem / Grade 5 / Wilmington, NC

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier, L4

Students apply their knowledge of simple machines and industrial engineering as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their own factory subsystems. 

Reflection Questions

What does Ann do to reinforce the idea that an engineering challenge can have multiple solutions?

Ann makes several comments that indicate that she values creativity and is inspired by the variety of solutions that students come up with for the challenge.

  • By assigning a different simple machine card to each group, she establishes that there are many different elements that can be part of the final subsystem design. (6:26)
  • Ann listens as two students explain their plan involving a wheel and axle, a single pulley and an inclined plane. Later, when a girl at the same table describes her idea of using an elevator, she says, "Good idea; I like that too." (11:22)
  • Ann acknowledges the unique ways that one group used rulers during the challenge. She says, "I didn't see anyone else do that. What did you guys do with the rulers?" (14:23)

What evidence do you see that Ann's students have prior knowledge of the Engineering Design Process (EDP) and know how to apply it to design challenges?

Ann's students easily name the EDP steps they will be using and provide details about what they will do for each step.

  • When Ann asks her students about "the first thing we have to do", Charise does more than just name the first EDP step. She applies her knowledge to the context when she responds, "We have to ask about what kind of simple machines we're going to use." (1:34)
  • After a student mentions the Imagine step, Ann pushes them further by asking, "What are we going to imagine?" A student expands by saying, "The simple machines we are going to use and how we think they are going to work." (1:51)
  • When discussing what is involved in making a plan, Ann's students mention many things they have discussed, such as listing materials, using aerial-view drawings, and including labels. (2:28)