The Engineering Design Challenge:
Build a chair for Mr. Bear that will:
- Be the correct size for Mr. Bear
- Have a sturdy back high enough for Mr. Bear
- Keep Mr. Bear from falling out
- Raise Mr. Bear at least one inch off the ground
- Use two different ways of connect LEGO pieces together
- Withstand the drop test
- Etc. (requirements may be added or removed as appropriate)
- LEGO Education WeDo or LEGO Education Simple Machines kits
- Small stuffed bear (Beanie Baby-sized)
- A ruler
Students will go through the entire process of designing a chair for the Mr. Bear, from planning a solution, to building a solution, testing a solution, and reporting about a solution. They will also practice working with partners.
This lesson can be integrated with literacy, through the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or other stories, such as Kaye Umansky's A Chair for Baby Bear. The lesson also requires students to measure the height of their chair, and use the stuffed bear as a metric for constructing a chair of the appropriate size. Writing can be integrated at the end, by asking students to describe their design, or to write about how they would improve it.
An Introduction to Engineering and LEGO Education pieces is included in the lesson plan. The objective of this activity is to allow students to design, test, and revise, with a partner, an object that meets many requirements. There is an engineering journal attached to this post that students can fill out as they engage in the lesson. There is a space for planning with drawing and writing. In younger grades, do not expect the students designs to look like the initial plan. These mainly serve to give the teacher an idea of whether the student is paying attention to the requirements, and to facilitate a discussion with their partner about their common design. Students should be given ample time to build, and encouraged to test whenever they like, so that they may redesign and test again. It is sometimes good to stop the class and demonstrate the testing for everyone with a group that finishes their first iteration early in the lesson. After everyone has successfully completed a chair (you can choose when to end the lesson depending on your time constraints), have the students share with the class, or through writing.