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Titre original : Oren_Levi_Oren Solar Car Lesson Plan

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1. NJ standards addressed in the lesson:

5.1.12.A.1: Refine interrelationships among concepts and patterns of evidence

found in different central scientific explanations.

Students will be using their knowledge of torque to construct an effective solar car. Since

power output is limited, as engineers it will be their “job” to use the science they know to

get the most out of the solar motor.

5.1.12.A.2: Develop and use mathematical, physical, and computational tools to

build evidence-based models and to pose theories.

Students will have to conduct side experiments to reason mathematically and scientifically

how the motor behaves. Uncertainty and assumptions will play a part in accurate results.

This will then be applied to the actual construction of the vehicle.

5.1.12.D.1: Engage in multiple forms of discussion in order to process, make sense

of, and learn from others’ ideas, observations, and experiences.

AND

8.1.12.C.1: Develop an innovative solution to a complex, local or global problem or

issue in collaboration with peers and experts, and present ideas for feedback in an

online community.

Students will work together in groups (if possible containing individuals of various

strengths and backgrounds) to collectively solve the problem at hand and each contribute

their own knowledge and ability.

5.1.12.D.2: Represent ideas using literal representations, such as graphs, tables,

journals, concept maps, and diagrams.

Students will follow protocol similar to real engineering in which they must present their

final product and defend why their choice of gears and design is the best.

Circular motion and kinematics

Torque/ Circular dynamics

How to calculate Uncertainty

Static friction (rolling friction)

Content:

Goals Standards Addressed

Calculate torque and apply findings to solve a problem 5.2.12.A.1, 8.1.12.C.1

Numerically observing effects of uncertainties on data 5.1.12.A.2

Process:

Goals Standards Addressed

Understand parts of the Engineering Design Process 8.1.12.C.1, 5.1.12.D.2

Conduct an application experiment 5.1.12.A.1, 5.1.12.A.2

Epistemological:

Goals Standards Addressed

How to apply calculated values to real situations 5.1.12.A.1, 5.1.12.A.2

Analyze what assumptions were made and how they affect 5.1.12.A.1, 5.1.12.A.2

results

Learn to appreciate and use others’ abilities and cooperate to 5.1.12.D.1, 8.1.12.C.1

achieve a common goal

Use graphical tools to present evidence of success or a superior 5.1.12.D.2

product.

Metacognitive:

Goals Standards Addressed

How can I contribute my strengths to the discussion and help 5.1.12.D.1, 8.1.12.C.1

solve the problem?

How can I show that my solution is valid and will work 5.1.12.D.2

successfully?

Use mathematical evidence to show reasoning and why your solution is the best.

The purpose and application of gears as a simple machine

Aspects of the engineering process: Identify the problem, research the problem

(mathematical approach), develop possible solution, construct prototype, test and evaluate,

Redesign/communicate solution.

Evaluating assumptions and application of theory is not always straight forward.

Account for uncertainty

Understanding why outcome did not match predicted values from

mathematical calculations.

Although gears are effective tool for transfer of torque, there are other forces aside

from just the mass of the cart that will oppose the torque. Friction between axels, slipping

gear contacts, etc. As such, when students are making calculations to predict the amount of

torque necessary to move the car, some uncertainty will need to be accounted for.

Students need to be reminded of the type of difficulties actual engineers have with

construction. Sometimes designs need to be reevaluated if the initial design does not work

out as planned and sacrifices may have to be made in design or construction or money in

order to achieve something similar to the original design.

ex:

“What is standing in the way of you succeeding with your original design?”

Students will need to use graphs and tables to show that they have created the most

effective solar car. This may involve showing data to show that they maximized torque by

showing calculations of torque with corresponding gear sizes. Also Students will have to

show that they have the fastest car. This will have to be done by giving time trial data.

Effective and easy to read data tables and graphs will be integral to this process and

students will need to be reminded of what makes a good table or graph.

6. Equipment needed:

Student Use Teacher use

Complete Solar Car kit White boards or big paper for presentations

oSolar panel Balance or Scale

oGears

oMotor

oAxels

oWood panel

oWheels

oEye screws

String

Objects of different mass

Tape

7. Lesson description:

Lab Goals:

Apply mathematical reasoning to construction of a working apparatus

Understand engineering and design process

Present information in an effective and convincing way

Your task:

In an attempt to create a new alternative-energy vehicle, an engineering firm has decided to

research getting the most out of a single solar engine in hopes of cutting costs of adding more solar

panels. In order to do this, gears have to be used to maximize the torque transferred from the motor

to the wheels to move the car. This is where you come in. It is your task to find the best combination

of gears to make a functional solar car.

The firm has requested groups of researchers present their findings at the next Solar Car

Summit. This means that groups will have to acquire data showing how effective their designs are

using any method they can (mathematical reasoning, tables, graphs, diagrams, etc).

Design Criteria

1) Design must include only ONE MOTOR and ONE SOLAR PANEL.

2) Make a car that can travel as fast as possible while still using maximum torque efficiency. In

other words, the mass of the car does not slow it down and the wheels do not spin so fast

that they do not grip the ground (Think of static friction).

Maximum predicted load (mass)with calculations

Time trials to show maximum velocity (without load)

Car design

Reasoning for choice of gears (Torque transfer calculations)

Final Gear ratio (“Number of turns wheels do”: “number of turns motor does”)

Procedure: Follow the steps below and fill in the corresponding sections in the

Engineering/Design Process handout.

a) Before you can start designing your car, you need to find the maximum torque of the solar

motor you are required to use. Since you are required to make the best of the given

technology, you need to find a way to maximize the potential of this motor.

What do you know about torque?

How can you find the torque that the motor exerts on a gear?

Make sure to write down all your calculations. You will need these for your presentation.

b) Now that you have an idea of what the motor is capable of, you can start planning your car.

Build your car so you know the car’s mass. This will affect the amount your wheels will need

to push your car and therefore how much power you need from your motor.

c) Now based on what you know about torque, what combination of gears do you think will

maximize speed and make sure not to sacrifice weight capacity.

d) Once your sketch has been approved, buy the items you need and begin building your

coaster. Note any changes to design you need to make in the Design Process handout. Make

sure to note your reasoning for your presentation.

e) After coming up with your design, build your cart and test it out. Do a few time trials to

make sure your velocity is at full capacity.

f) Discuss how come your original design didn’t work the way you’d planned. What

assumptions did you make at first that turned out to be untrue.

Based on your calculations, did your car work?

Why do you think it didn’t work?

How do you need to redesign it to make it better?

Step Notes

1) Problem: How

torque will affect

your car.

2) Research/Possible

Soln’s: Things you

will need to achieve

your goal (car

properties, gear

properties, wheel

properties, etc.)

3) Best Possible Soln:

Sketch Final design

features (Gear ratio

and sizes).

4) Soln. design

features and

calculations

5) Construct, test,

and evaluate:

Begin construction

of coaster. Note any

changes you make.

What assumptions

are not holding?

6) Communicate

Solution: What

changes did you

have to make.

7) Redesign: Draw

your final product.

What is your final

gear ratio?

Teacher Notes:

This is an exercise in applying the knowledge the students know to a real life situation. The

concept of torque is extremely complicated, but the purpose of the exercise is not really content based,

it is procedure and presentation. They need to be able to justify their reasoning to the best of their

ability and go through the design process. If their numbers aren’t perfect, it is not really the end of the

world. If they can be convincing of their process and reasoning and show proof that their car works

based on time trials and calculations, then the goals of the activity were met.

engaged.

Clock reading “Title of the Students Doing Teacher Doing

during the lesson activity”

0 - 5 min Homework quiz, Writing Checking up equipment for

receive feedback the first activity

Clock reading “Title of the Students Doing Teacher Doing

during the lesson activity”

5-10 min Introduction, Listening taking notes, Addressing class, showing

statement of rules Getting into groups. material

and materials

10-40 min Initial calculations Working in groups. Assisting students when

and preliminary Discussing designs, necessary. Helping students

designs. calculating necessary get past design trouble by

values, drawing initial asking probing questions

design. (see possible student

difficulties section)

40-70 min (0-30 min Build car, time trials, Constructing car, Helping students get past

if continuing on assemble data for adjusting for errors in hurdles and difficulties in

another day) presentations design, reasoning design. Probing for

assumptions.

70 – 85 min (30-45 Presentations Students present final Watching presentations.

min next day) design and give Making sure students reach

reasoning “why their key points.

car is the best” Giving students homework

assignment.

9. Formative Assessments:

Content Goals:

Students can correctly reason force required to move car and find the torque necessary to

spin wheels to move car.

Mention of sources of experimental uncertainty

Process Goals:

Proper presentation of information in Design Process Handout.

Answering homework question about engineering design process.

Effective final presentation

Epistemological Goals:

Students’ ability to accurately and effectively analyze assumptions and explain how they

affected the final result.

Ability of students to effectively solve problems and hurdles in the design process.

Students are able to effectively work in groups and no one individual is doing bulk of work.

Metacognitive Goals:

Ability to answer homework question on contribution to the team and design process.

Effective final presentation

By nature of the course, different learners will automatically be accounted for. Students will be

working in groups, so the activity is already a cooperative learning activity. The activity could utilize

technology in the form of graphing or mathematical programs for learners who prefer the

organization of a computerized write-up. Bilingual or ELL students should have no difficulty as they

not only have peer instruction, but all concepts used in the lab have been previously addressed and

students are constructing new knowledge together. Since the teacher is not introducing new terms

or ideas, there is no risk of misunderstanding.

11. Homework:

1) How accurate were your predictions of the amount of torque you needed to push the

car? What changes did you have to make?

2) What difficulties did you have in the engineering and design process ? (List at least one)

How did you overcome these difficulties?

Using your group’s data, create a presentation in power point that describes your design

process. Include all the proof you need to justify your reasoning (time trials, graphs,

calculations) with the purpose of convincing the engineering firm that your design is the

most efficient in terms of weight capacity and speed. Write a script to go with your

presentation that would be EXACTLY what you would say while giving it. This is a crucial

part of the design process that engineers must worry about (or rather, marketing engineers)

when trying to sell a design or product.

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