Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. They will design and build two "volleyball machines" that launch a ping pong ball back and forth over a net. Optionally, they can enter their designs in the
2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
for a chance to win a cash prize for your school or nonprofit!
This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
- MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:
|Science & Engineering Practices
||Disciplinary Core Ideas
|Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions.
Undertake a design project, engaging in the design cycle, to construct and/or implement a solution that meets specific design criteria and constraints.
Optimize performance of a design by prioritizing criteria, making tradeoffs, testing, revising, and retesting.
|ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions.
A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.
There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.
ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution.
The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution.
|Structure and Function.
Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.
Systems and System Models.
Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This engineering project is based on the "Beach Volleyball" friendly competition designed by employees of Fluor Corporation located in Southern California.
|Tools and Testing Materials (no point cost)|
|Paper and pencil||For sketching design ideas|
|Scissors ||For cutting construction materials |
|Sheets of paper (2) ||For making net|
|Tape ||For holding net to floor/table|
|Ruler ||For checking net dimensions|
|Ping pong ball || |
Materials allowed for building a volleyball machine for the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge.
Note: material costs are not pro-rated. For example, if you use any tape, it still costs the entire 10 points, even if you do not use the whole roll.
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this lesson plan.
- Design and build "volleyball machines" based on specified criteria.
- Iteratively test and modify the machines to improve their performance.