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Heather McInnis, Christian Boissonneault,


Alia Yasin, & Maria Herrera
Class:
Grade 3/4

Date:
Unit Wrap up

Time:
Four 45-minute
periods

What is great about this project:


- 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

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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

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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?

activity stating how they worked in


a group.
- Summative: The teacher will
individually assess each students
data collection and graphs.

Reference for the Balloon Car Project:


The Weston School. (1998). Balloon Car. Retrieved from:
http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/ballooncar.html

Heather McInnis, Christian Boissonneault,


Alia Yasin, & Maria Herrera

1.How does your project make integration


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.

2.How does your project develop students


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

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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.

3.What strategies does your project


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.

4.What is your role when you are teaching


this project?

The teacher will be responsible for preparing the materials in


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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Image of the presentation table and poster