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Alia Yasin, & Maria Herrera

Class:

Grade 3/4

Date:

Unit Wrap up

Time:

Four 45-minute

periods

- Using the same materials, that when used in

different combinations will create very different

results putting emphasis on the use of inquiry.

- Fun and engaging for the students, with lots of

open-ended questions, with room for materials

experimentation and concepts implementation.

- Plenty of room for what ifs and project expansion.

Objectives: Building a Balloon Car

- Integrate the science, math and engineering

concepts covered in class to build a balloon car.

- Encourage the students to make use of inquiry,

provide open-ended questions throughout the

assignment. Make use of prediction about the results

they would like to achieve with their design and

reflect upon them to determine if those results were

Unit:

Building Devices

and Vehicles

that Move.

Materials:

4 balloons

8 wheels (2 sets

of 4, small and

large)

2 axels

1 small

container

1 kitchen scale

1 set of weights

(g)

1 utility knife

1 measuring

tape

Paper, pencil,

eraser, and

ruler

2

achieved or not (and how).

- Encourage students to transfer theoretical

knowledge into practical experience.

- Emphasize the importance of good workmanship

and cooperation.

- Allow for material experimentation and building

with a variety of materials.

- Encourage the students to use the material in

multiple ways in order to promote inquiry (ie: the

student may choose to use small or large wheels, 4

or 6 wheels, 1 to 3 balloons, and play with the cars

weight). Students will be allowed to change their

cars as they see fit, in relationship with the results

they would like to achieve.

- Demonstrate an understanding of measuring

length and mass.

- Demonstrate an understanding of Grade 3

graphing skills.

Set-up:

- Introduction,

design, building

and reflection:

in classroom at

their tables.

- Racing of the

cars: in the

hallway outside

of the

classroom.

Introduction:

- Teacher assumptions: the students will be able to implement the

knowledge covered in the previous unit, as well as the information

covered in the grade 3 math and science curriculums.

- The teacher will provide materials, in order to establish a uniform

starting point for each group (teacher will be the only one using the

knife to put holes in the container but students will decide design).

- Students will be divided into groups of 3 for this assignment; each

group will design and make a balloon car using similar materials in any

way they desire.

- Students will demonstrate previous knowledge of the Building

Devices and Vehicles that Move unit by building a balloon car to travel

as far as possible.

- Students will be required to record and collect data about the weight,

and the distances travelled by their car.

- Students will be required to implement at least one design

modification to their car to demonstrate how that may influence and

vary their previous results and their predictions.

- Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of relevant science

and engineering concepts in the designing and building of their car,

and a working knowledge of relevant math concepts in the data

collection and analysis

3

Activity: each class will take 45 minutes

Day 1: Introduction

Present the activity to the class, and talk with the students about the

different types of vehicles. The teacher will provide open-ended

questions to the students asking them what they think will make their

balloon car go farthest. Allow the students to reflect about the number

of wheels and their sizes, the number of balloons, the weight of the

car, and their possible outcomes.

Assign the students to different groups and allow time for them to

draw/draft the cars design. Each team will have to provide the teacher

with a team name for their car and their teams design drawing.

Day 2: Building

The students will work in teams to build their car. Each team will start

with the same basic materials, and according to their design

combination they will get different results that they will be able to test

and modify once more later in the assignment. Each team will require

teaching assistance in perforating the container to attach the axels and

the balloons. Students will be required to follow their draft (where

possible) when building their car.

Day 3: Racing

The students will be taken to a location large enough to accommodate

the car races (likely the hallway outside the room). Students will be

required to collect data specifying the length the car travels, the

weight of the car, the number and size of the wheels, and the number

of balloons used. They must also explain the modifications they made

to their original design after the race, and if their results changed or

not and why.

Day 4: Reflecting

Students will be invited to talk about their experience, to show their

data to the class, and reflect upon their results providing examples.

Students will be encouraged to expand on how they could further

modify their car, or how they could use similar materials to create

another object that moves. Each group will then have part of the class

to write their self-assessment.

Follow-Up:

- Students will pair up with

another group to compare their

results, hypothesize a reason as to

what caused the different results,

and come up with ideas about how

they could use similar materials to

Evaluation:

- Formative: Teachers will evaluate

student understanding during the

designing and building process

(using the finger method learning

scale). Students will also complete

a self-evaluation at the end of the

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produce another object that

moves. Students will be

encouraged to used open-ended

questions and inquiry along the

way to inform and enrich their

work.

_Extra questions for the

students:

How do you think can you make

your car turn?

How do you think you can make

your car go faster?

How can you make your car go

slower?

What would happen if you change

the number or the size of the

wheels?

a group.

- Summative: The teacher will

individually assess each students

data collection and graphs.

The Weston School. (1998). Balloon Car. Retrieved from:

http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/ballooncar.html

Alia Yasin, & Maria Herrera

explicit?

This project incorporates science and math concepts, as well as

elements of engineering. Students will use the concepts they have

learned in grade 3 math (measuring length, measuring mass, and

collecting data and organizing it onto charts) to address the grade 4

science concepts of building a vehicle using the given materials, with

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the goal being for it to travel the farthest distance. Students must have

understandings of these math conceptsas well as using their

understandings of addition skills to calculate weights and distancesin

order to participate in the science aspects of the project. Students will

also incorporate engineering skills such as design (deciding what

wheels to use, how many balloons, whether or not to add weights), trial

and error revision (testing their vehicles and then making

improvements), and decision making as a team. Grade 4 science goals

of good workmanship and cooperative decision making in working on a

construction project will also be incorporated. The 3 STEM concepts of

science, math, and engineering are all integrated in this project and

cannot exist independently to solve the problem that students are

given.

subject knowledge?

Math Curriculum - Grade 3, Shape and Space (Measurement)

Specific Outcomes:

3. Demonstrate an understanding of measuring length (cm, m) by:

selecting and justifying referents for the units cm and m

modelling and describing the relationship between the

units cm and m

estimating length, using referents

measuring and recording length, width and height

4. Demonstrate an understanding of measuring mass (g, kg) by:

selecting and justifying referents for the units g and kg

modelling and describing the relationship between the

units g and kg

estimating mass, using referents

measuring and recording mass

(Alberta Education, 2007, p. 22-23).

In this project, students will be responsible for measuring the distance

that their vehicles go (in cm). They will use a meter stick to measure

distances (converting the meters travelled to a total in cm), record

their distances in a table, and then at the end of the project will plot

their data on a graph.

Students will also demonstrate their understanding of mass (g) by

weighing their cars at the beginning of the assignment (on a kitchen

scale, in g). Then students will add weights (in g) to their vehicles to

determine how weight affects distance (if more or less weight means

further distance). Students will record weights in a table (in g).

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*This project could also incorporate an aspect of students estimating

distances and weights.

Math Curriculum - Grade 3, Statistics and Probability (Data Analysis)

Specific Outcomes:

1. Collect first-hand data and organize it using:

tally marks

line plots

charts

lists

(Alberta Education, 2007, p. 23).

Students will record their data on a table (the teacher will provide a

template of one like we have shown on our tri-fold). At the end of the

project, once all data has been recorded, all results can be organized

onto a chart (plotting points on a line).

Science Curriculum - Grade 4, Topic C: Building Devices and Vehicles

that Move

Specific Learner Expectations:

1. Design and construct devices and vehicles that move or have

moving parts - linkages, wheels and axles.

2. Use simple forces to power or propel a device; e.g., direct

pushes, pulls, cranking mechanisms, moving air, moving water

and downhill motion.

3. Design and construct devices and vehicles that employ energystoring or energy-consuming components that will cause motion;

e.g., elastic bands, springs, gravity, wind, moving water.

4. Recognize the need for control in mechanical devices, and apply

control mechanisms where necessary.

5. Compare two designs, identifying the relative strengths and

weaknesses of each.

6. Identify steps to be used in constructing a device or vehicle, and

work cooperatively with other students to construct the device or

vehicle.

7. Design and construct several different models of a device and

evaluate each model, working cooperatively with other students.

(Alberta Education, 1996, B. 20).

In this project, students will build vehicles (given a set of materials)

and determine how to make their vehicle travel the furthest distance

(by manipulating wheel size, number of balloons used, and weight of

their vehicle). Moving air (in the balloons) will be the force that powers

the vehicle, and teachers will briefly discuss with their students how

7

the amount of air in the balloon, and the size of its opening, could

affect the distance travelled as well as the speed. Students will have

the opportunity to compare their designs by examining the data they

record in their tables, and will determine which design is the strongest.

Science Curriculum - Grade 3, Topic B: Building with a Variety of

Materials

Specific Learner Expectations:

7. Recognize the importance of good workmanship, and demonstrate

growth toward good workmanship.

9. Apply skills of listening, speaking and cooperative decision-making

in working with other students on a construction project.

(Alberta Education, 1996, B. 14).

During this assignment, students will work in groups of 3. They will be

expected to navigate the aspects of teamwork, such as listening to

their peers and making decisions cooperatively. Students will be

assessed by the teacher throughout the assignment to make sure their

team is working well together, and at the end of the project students

will complete a self-assessment form to reflect on how they worked as

a group member.

incorporate to encourage students ability

to transfer knowledge?

This project involves transferring theoretical knowledge (of

measurement, weight, size, and how they might factor into distance),

into practical application (hands on understanding of how these

elements work together to factor into distance travelled). This

integrates theoretical science, math, and engineering knowledge (for

example: the scientific method, visualizing and converting numbers,

drafting), and requires students to apply them in completion of their

goal (identifying ways to improve the vehicle, creating tables and

graphs, making changes to the vehicle). The project has options for

extension to higher grades (such as experimenting with different

building materials, involving slopes, and investigating speeds), and

thus teachers could use this project as a building block towards more

complex understandings of similar subject matter.

this project?

advance, making a plan for how the days will unfold, and on day

1 they will be giving an explanation of the project and student

expectations.

On day 2, students will be building their vehicles and the teacher

will have more of an observational role (guiding students to

support success, but mostly expecting the building process to be

inquiry-based and independent). Teachers must also make sure

students stay on task during the course of the project in order to

have all students complete steps in the specified time frame (so

that they all participate fully in the assignment), and formative

assessment strategies will be routinely used to assess student

understanding and capability during the process (ie: hold up

fingers to say how youre feeling). Teachers will check that

students are recording their data correctly on their tables (to

foster proper scientific practices) while students are building and

testing their designs.

On day 3, the teacher will facilitate a classroom competition

between students to determine what groups vehicle can travel

the farthest distance. The teacher will record class results and

declare the winning group.

On day 4, students will reflect on their designs and make graphs

plotting the data they collected to observe trends and patterns.

Groups will share their graphs with other students to compare

results, and will discuss how this project could be extended to

build other vehicles with similar materials. They may also discuss

how their vehicle could be modified to go further or faster, or

what would happen if they incorporated slope or different

materials, etc. The teacher will also have the students complete

self-assessment forms that reflect on their role as a group

member (how they contributed, how their group worked as a

team, etc). The teacher will assess each student individually on

their graphs and data collection tables.

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