“Elevating” 3rd Grade Engineering Skills

3rd Graders have just finished their final design engineering projects while studying simple machines in science class. In small groups, they tackled the challenge of using only k'nex construtor pieces to build an elevator capable of carrying an egg from a particular height down to the floor without breaking. 

Many adjustments were made along the way to fine-tune their open-ended solutions and achieve success–adjusting the position of the wheel of the pulley, finding a perfect balance between the elevator car and the counterweight, and rebuilding the structure holding the elevator itself. As students worked on building their structures, they were cultivating 21st-century skills such as collaboration, reiteration, communication, problem-solving, and prototyping. “They had to confront failure a number of times and develop the stamina to keep their focus on tackling the challenge,” reported 3rd-4th Grade Science Teacher, Meglena Zapreva.

Students concluded the engineering challenge by presenting and testing their prototype one final time in front of their class. They then wrote reflections on their collaboration with thoughts on what they might do differently should they repeat the engineering challenge. View a photo album of student elevators in the album to the right (some photos are courtesy of Mr. Nathan Estep).
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