Hovercraft.pngI have been thinking about Design Thinking around engineering activities. One activity my students did involved hovercraft. Students learned about how air can reduce friction. They had the opportunity to ride a large hovercraft another teacher at my school and I built. The teacher riding the hovercraft in the photo really enjoyed himself.

 

Student_Hovercraft.jpgStudents then were given an old CD and provided with a variety of different sized and shaped balloons. We also supplied different types of tape. We allowed students to ask for materials we did not have out. A common request was for a pin. Students were challenged to create a hovercraft so the CD "floated" on their table. Students asked us what we expected from their design. We explained to students that we wanted a hovercraft that floated the longest. Student questions lead to a variety of designs. Students were thrilled to create their own hovercraft. I enjoyed having students question me regarding my hopes and expectations. It was challenging to NOT tell students what the final design should look like.

 

I thought about our Intel Engage community. I hope members will share their thoughts on the following:

  1. How do you ensure that an activity does NOT tell students your expectations?
  2. What benefit do you see for students when they are challenged to solve a problem like this?
  3. What kind of an engineering challenge would you propose to students that is similar to this example?

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