Author:
Carrie Robledo, Elizabeth Alderson
Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
Upper Primary
Tags:
  • 3rd Grade
  • NCEngineers
  • Science
  • Stem
  • k5engineers
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    Friction Fighter Design Project

    Friction Fighter Design Project

    Overview

    Students will work in groups to design a wheel-less vehicle that will be sent across different surfaces to test what friction does to materials. The goal of the build will be to make a vehicle that will move as quickly as possible over different surfaces. By using different types of surfaces the student will have to test and decide which building materials are best to cause the best movement.

    Instructor Directions

     

     

     

    Friction Fighter Design Project

    Submitted by Elizabeth Alderson

    Moore County Schools

    Driving Question / ScenarioHow can the force of friction affect the movement of an object?
    Project SummaryStudents will work in groups to design a wheel-less vehicle that will be sent across different surfaces to test what friction does to materials. The goal of the build will be to make a vehicle that will move as quickly as possible over different surfaces. By using different types of surfaces the student will have to test and decide which building materials are best to cause the best movement.
    Estimated Time3 days- 3 hour class periodsDay 1- Introduction,Design and PlanDay 2- Build and CreateDay 3- Test/Improve/ and Reflect
    Materials / ResourcesTo create a course for the vehicles to be tested on you will need surfaces that have different friction points. Possible materials: carpet, felt, sandpaper, tile, plastic wrap, wax paper.The vehicles will be built with common materials that can be found in the classroom. You can use whatever materials are available to you. The best materials are cardboard, egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, construction paper, plastic cubs, paper plates, index cards, coffee filters, felt. You will need tape and glue for keeping the vehicles together.
    Grade3
    Subject(s)Science
    Educational Standards3.P.3.1- Recognize that energy can be transferred from one object to another by rubbing them against each other.3.P.3.2- Recognize that energy can be transferred from a warmer object to a cooler one by contact or at a distance and the cooler object gets warmer.
    Project Outline
    AskWhat materials can you use to build a wheel-less vehicle that will travel across different surfaces?
    ImagineYou are planning a cross country sled trip. In order to make it to the end of the trip your vehicle has to cross across multiple different terrains. Using only the materials you have on hand you need to build that vehicleo get to the end of the course as quickly as possible.
    PlanShow your students which supplies are available for use. Use the planning document provided and have your student draw a design for their vehicle. Make sure to have them list the supplies that they are using and have a very purposeful plan.
    CreateHand out the materials the students have chosen to use to them. Give them a set amount of time to build and test their vehicles. Lay down the different surfaces separately so that the students can test their vehicles on the different surfaces individually but not yet as a course as a whole. I usually give them a whole class period to work through the build and mini tests.
    ImproveAfter all the students are done with their build it will be time to do the official course run. Set up all your surfaces in a line in your class. Have all students take a turn sending their vehicles down the course. You can either time the vehicles course or have 2 vehicles race each other to determine the fastest. After all students have done their official test, allow them a short amount of set time to do one last improvement on their vehicles before doing one last trial. You will need to have the course set up with all of your different surfaces.
    Closure / Student ReflectionsAfter all tests and improvements have been done have the students use their planning sheet to answer the reflection questions. After they have done their reflections have them use a platform like flipgrid or Seesaw to post a video explaining what they would do differently or why their vehicle worked or didn’t work. You can also have students send their results and/or videos to parents to share their successes.
    Possible Modifications / ExtensionsIf you would like to make the challenge a little hard you can use ziploc bags of sugar to add weight to their vehicles and increase the friction. If you would add some technology you can use a robot like a dash or sphero to pull or move the vehicle instead of manual force. If you would like to add a math component you could set dollar amounts to all of the supplies and have the students develop a budget and record their calculations on the planning sheet. If you would like to add a writing component you could have your student write a story about their trip based on the vehicle they designed and the surfaces you used to create the course.