- The teacher will ask the students the following questions:
Introduce the following problem to the students:
- Have you ever played with magnets?
- Can you name something that is made with magnets?
- If you could make an object using two magnets what would it be, what would it do, and what would it look like?
- Have you ever ridden on a train?
- Tell the students that they will be working in groups to design a system that uses magnets to solve a problem through an engineering design project.
- Discuss with the students the forces between interacting magnets that like poles of a magnet repel and opposite poles attract.
- A crowded city has decided to upgrade its railroad system. The crowded city would like to do away with its traditional railroads due to a large volume of vehicle accidents involving trains and cars. How would you design a train that could move from one place to another place without rolling on traditional rails?
- The teacher will solicit answers from the students and accept creative responses.
- The teacher will show the video of a Maglev train: http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/maglev-train.htm
During Strategy Explore/Imagine/Plan/Create
- Tell the students that their task will be to devise a rail system that will levitate a train and keep it on the track.
- Using the following video to explain the Engineering Design Process: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org. After watching the video, tell the students that they are going to design a maglev train.
- Introduce the term levitate.
- Next provide the students with a sheet of drawing paper.
Explain to the students that they will create a cartoon strip graphic organizer. In each box of the graphic organizer they are to describe and draw what their Maglev train would look like, how fast will it go, and add features, etc.
Before the students begin their drawings, ask them to discuss within the groups how they would like to design the train.
After the students discuss their plans, encourage the students to work in small groups to design a draft of what their Maglev train may look like.
The students should include how the body will look, the number of magnets it will take to make the train levitate and any other creative ideas they would like to add.
Once the students have completed their organizers. Allow each group time to share their plans with the other groups.
The students will be separated into groups of threes, and given a Maglev kit.
- Ask the students to fold the sheet of drawing paper into four boxes.
Place magnets in the track, all with the same face-up.
Now place 4 magnets on the car with the same face down.
Once you have successfully floated a train on the rail system, the next step is to propel the train down the track.
- In each kit, you should supply materials for creating a magnetic train system (magnets, fasteners, one toy car or toy train), track.
- Record any ideas, results, and observations from the video.
- Working with the other members of your group, come up with a propulsion system that will propel the car down the 4 ft. track.
- Discuss propulsion with the students.
- Record any ideas, results, and observations.
- Once each group has found a system that works, each group is going to race their trains on a track provided by the teacher.
- After the students have tested their system, the teacher will bring the groups together and ask each group to explain how their train designs will move from one place to another place without rolling on traditional rails while staying on their new tracks.
- The students will be given time to share their models. After the students share their Maglev Models, they will be given seven minutes to discuss ways to improve their models.
- The teacher will give the students time to improve their Maglev models.
- Relate the discussions back to the design problem/guiding question. How would you design a train that could move from one place to another place without rolling on traditional rails?
- Discuss with students how applying a scientific understanding of the forces between interacting magnets may solve the design problem.