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Pendulum Game
Lab 1 - Engineering the Pendulum

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Part 1 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct each team to use the challenge cards to explore the Pendulum.

    Pendulum Challenge Cards
    Pendulum Challenge Cards

     

  2. ModelModel how to use the Pendulum.
    Video file

    Also model for groups how to use the Engineering Design Process Organizer to draw pictures, and take notes during the process.

    Pendulum Engineering Design Process Sheet
    Using the Engineering Design Process Organizer

     

  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion for students about how to work as a team with the Pendulum Challenge cards.

    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum
    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum

    • Does everyone have a job? Who is the journalist? Who is the builder?
    • What happens when something doesn’t work? What would you do?
    • Using the iterative process means failing and continuing to work, while thinking of what to add or take away to be successful. How do you think we could apply this process to the Pendulum Challenge cards?
    • What is the first step that your team will do when you get the Pendulum Challenge cards?
    • Do you have all the materials you need, such as a your organizer and pencil or pen to write with?
  4. RemindRemind groups to work as a team during the challenge card activity. Students may have questions during the activity.

    Working as a Team
    Working as a Team

    Allow students to struggle and remind students that when using the iterative process they might not achieve what they want the first time. Provide scaffolding with measurement if needed but allow students to feel that they have found a solution when possible.

  5. AskAsk students to think about how pendulums have been used as a simple machine in history and today.
    • How could a scientist use this tool?
    • How do you think a pendulum could be used to solved a problem?
    • Could this tool still be used today?
    • How could you use a pendulum in your daily life?

Mid-Play Break & Group Discussion

As soon as every group has accomplished Pendulum Challenge Card #5, come together for a brief conversation.

  • What has your team discovered through the Pendulum Challenges? What was the most difficult task you faced?
  • What insight does your team have on one or two of the challenge cards? How can we help each other? What types of overall tips could you give other teams in the classroom?

Part 2 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct each group to continue to use the Challenge cards to explore the Pendulum.

    Pendulum Challenge Cards
    Pendulum Challenge Cards

     

  2. ModelModel for students how to take apart certain pieces of the Pendulum build using the Pin Puller.

    Model for students how to test, fail and test again using different additional pieces. Allow students to ask questions about how to fail and try again. Model how team members have different jobs such as a journalist or a builder. Using these jobs, students can test, or build their creation from the challenge cards. Model how to write on the organizer. Model how to visualize what could happen if they added a VEX piece or took a piece off.

    Video file
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion for students about the engineering process by asking the following questions:
    • How can you use the engineering process in later challenge cards to help find a solution?
    • Is failure a part of the Engineering and Design Process?
    • What questions do you still have about the Engineering and Design Process?

    Pendulum EDP Sheet
    Using the Engineering Design Process Organizer

     

  4. RemindRemind groups to use the iterative process when something in their design doesn’t work. Encourage students that it’s ok to make mistakes and that ultimately every mistake will lead to a success.

    If a challenge becomes too frustrating, provide scaffolding through suggestions or providing a solution. By walking around and observing, the teacher will see which groups are progressing, and which groups need more scaffolding. Allowing students to understand that this is not a race, but more of an exploration will help students to feel confident about the activity.

  5. AskAsk students to think about how real engineers design new inventions.
    • How many times does it take for designers to get their creations right?
    • What kinds of techniques do you think they use to make the process easier?
    • How have you used the same techniques today to help build our additions to the pendulum?
    • Do you think engineers work in groups like we have today, to design?

Optional: Teams may deconstruct their Pendulum if needed at this point in the experience. They will use the same build in the subsequent labs, so this is a teacher option.