Lesson 6: Solar Mobile Design Challenge - Construction

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Author:
Kristy Schneider
Intended Grade Level(s):
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students brainstorm ideas and share with their group.
  1. Students draw and label Solar Mobile designs in Engineering Notebooks.

  2. Students research an aircraft to trace (if this was not accomplished in the Center of Gravity lesson) and trace the aircraft outline onto foam board.

  3. Students construct a solar circuit to power motors and propellers on a foam board aircraft and test multiple times before adding to the solar mobile stand.

  4. Students construct solar mobile stand and add their aircraft to a dowel attached to the central hub.

  5. Students work with a partner to balance each aircraft onto the mobile.

  6. Students test the mobile speed outside (depending on weather) and compare to speed under indoor light stands.

  7. After initial testing, students redesign circuits or mobile construction to optimize design.

  8. Students use hand-held devices to film their moving Mobiles to judge the machine’s speed.

  9. Students demonstrate how their Solar Mobile works and justify in writing why their mobile should be chosen for the Children’s Technology Museum. 

Files Associated with this Activity:
Description:

This is the culminating hands-on project for the Solar Mobile Design Challenge Lessons, with construction aligned to an engineering design process. Students start by Restating the Design Problem that was introduced to them in the beginning of the Unit. Next, they Brainstorm ideas and Plan out the construction of the mobile. Students research an aircraft to draw (if this was not accomplished in the Center of Gravity lesson) and move on to the building phase. The exciting part is pulling all the parts together to Build, Test, Evaluate, and go through this loop multiple times making improvements along the way. The final assessment will be students demonstrating how their Solar Mobile works and justifying why their mobile should be chosen for the Children’s Technology Museum. 

Other Material(s) Used

See Lesson Plan