2023 Kansas City National Conference

October 25-28, 2023

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FILTERS APPLIED:PreK - 5, Hands-On Workshop, STEM Haven, Physics


Rooms and times subject to change.
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Clean Cut - Learning about Simple Machines and Engineering Design

Friday, October 27 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Kansas City Convention Center - 2102 B

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Simple machines are historically a difficult subject to teach due in part to limited integration with other content. The Clean Cut unit is suitable for upper elementary students and combines the concept of the wedge and the engineering design process. The goal is not only to introduce students to simple machines but also to introduce them to the nature of engineering design. Throughout the unit, students learn that one perfect solution does not exist; instead, they learn to tolerate and learn from failures. The students learn why simple machines are used in everyday life and design a solution to a problem while learning about and using an engineering design process. The students refine their design to fit within the constraints and criteria set by a client. Students test the design and collect qualitative data to refine their design. The unit includes a summative assessment in the form of a letter to the client describing what was learned about simple machines and engineering design.

The context of the lesson is designing a tool to split soap for use by people who have been through a natural disaster. Participants will learn about the integrated approach using engineering design and simple machines, experience part of the unit, and receive the handouts for use in the classroom.

William Walker (Assistant Director, CATALYST: No City, No State), Sopheak Seng (Mr.: Lafayette, IN)

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