Lift Chair Challenge

Contributor
Teachers Try Engineering (Collection developer) NYSCI
Type Category
Assessment Materials Instructional Materials
Types
Assessment Item , Activity , Experiment/Lab Activity , Model , Project
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

In this lesson, students use their knowledge of forces to answer the driving question: What components and materials can be used to create a model chair lift, designed to carry a set of aid materials?  They use the Engineering Design Process to design, build, test and critique model lifts.  The lesson also directly addresses Newton’s Second Law as the students make a new design to move larger masses. *NOTE: This review is for the lesson as given under “Instructional Resources” on the website, NOT the Word document labeled “Intermediate Lesson Plan” . The Word document is an engineering lesson that does not address forces and motion.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The students engage in all phases of the Engineering Design Process, including a systematic critique of their and others’ work. The words “criteria” and “constraints” are overt in the lesson.

MS-PS2-2 Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The purpose of this lesson is to use a real-life problem as a frame for studying the factors affecting the motion of objects. Students must design and build working models that lift “cargo” up a “mountain”. The roles of mass, and of the forces acting on that mass, are specifically addressed during the run-up to the design process. *This is only true for the lesson in the Instructional Resources section of the website, NOT the Word document labeled “Intermediate Lesson Plan”.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The culminating task of the lesson is a student presentation. The students are asked to use evidence and reasoning to justify their claims about why they made the changes they did to their model. A teacher could address the entirety of the Practice by asking students to also provide a write-up of their presentation points. *This information applies to the lesson in the Instructional Resources section of the website, NOT the Word document labeled “Intermediate Lesson Plan”.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The purpose of the lesson is for students to undertake a design project meant to simulate a real-life problem and solution. Students use the Engineering Design Process to create solutions to the problem of transporting humanitarian aid after a disaster. Criteria and constraints are specific in the lesson and can be modified to meet the needs of a group of students. Extension activities are suggestion including shortening the maximum time for the trip up and down, increasing the incline, and making predictions about changes needed for other objects of specific mass. *This information applies to the lesson in the Instructional Resources section of the website, NOT the Word document labeled “Intermediate Lesson Plan”.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students must use their understanding of force combinations from the discussion part of the lesson, in order to build a successful working chairlift model during the engineering part of the lessson. Students must also redesign their lifts to accommodate larger masses. During the discussion of forces and initial drawing of force diagrams, the teacher can highlight the idea of net forces, and point out places where the net force on the “cargo” is, and is not, zero. The idea that a larger force causes a larger change in motion is implied although not directly stated, in the discussion point about how to get emergency supplies up the mountain as fast as possible. *This information applies to the lesson in the Instructional Resources section of the website, NOT the Word document labeled “Intermediate Lesson Plan”.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students must build a structure that fulfills a function (a lift to transport supplies up a mountain), with specific criteria and constraints. Students must make decisions from among available materials as they engineer a solution that meets the criteria. The students also give and receive feedback about the success of various designs.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson given in the "Instructional Resources" section of the website seamlessly blends a Physical Science core idea, cross-cutting concept, and Practices. The lesson also incorporates an Engineering performance indicator, as well as the Physical Science performance indicator. The lesson’s focus is a bit stronger on engineering than on physical science.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson is framed with a real-world current-event problem to engage student interest and sense of purpose. (Suggestions are provided for the teacher to replace the given current event with a more relevant or timely one). Students engage in both science and engineering practices, and have multiple opportunities to explain, clarify, justify, and alter their ideas throughout the lesson. There is little guidance on differentiated instruction, but suggestions are given for extension activities. A teacher could also encourage students to take on specific roles within their group, e.g. recorder, builder-in-chief, facilitator, etc.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lesson highlights multiple opportunities for both formative and summative assessment. Frequent check-ins with teacher and peers help to assess if students are on the right track. The summative assessment has a rubric. The assessments are related to not only the core idea, but also the practice and the cross-cutting concept.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This lesson does not include technological interactivity.