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Who are Mechanical Engineers?

Differentiated Learning:


Engineering: Designing Windmills Lesson 2)

Curriculum Integration:


Classroom Strategies:

Blooms Taxonomy:

Comprehension/Understand Evaluate

Cooperative Groups
Problem Solving

TEKS Achieved:
Science TEKS
(2) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student develops abilities to ask questions and seek answers in classroom and outdoor
investigations. The student is expected to:
(B) plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move
(E) communicate observations and provide reasons for explanations using student-generated data from simple descriptive
(6) Force, motion, and energy. The student knows that force, motion, and energy are related and are a part of everyday life. The
student is expected to:
(A) identify and discuss how different forms of energy are important to everyday life
(D) demonstrate and record the ways that objects can move

(5) Matter and energy. The student knows that objects have properties and patterns. The
student is expected to:
(A) classify objects by observable properties of the materials

ITEEA National Standards and Benchmarks

(10A) Asking questions and making observations helps a person figure out how things work
(16A) Energy comes in many forms
(16D) Tools, machines, products, and systems use energy in order to do work
(11C) Investigate how things are made and how they can be improved

For the Class

Egg beater, hand operated

Chart paper
3-5 glue sticks
5 pencils, mechanical
5 can openers, with interlocking gears
Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Egg Beater

Copy for Students


For Each Pair of Students

Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Can Opener

Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Glue Stick
Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Mechanical

Markers/crayons, red
Markers/ crayons, blue

Submitted by: Jorden Coffman

Grade Level: 1st Grade

Subject/Topic: Science/ Mechanical Engineering

Rationale: (Guiding Question) How do mechanical engineers observe and think about machines?


The students will be able to identify common objects that are machines
The students will identify moving parts of a machine
The students will recognize how they move a machine (put energy in) and how the machine (or
part of a machine) moves in response
The students will recognize the role of mechanical engineers in designing and improving
The students will recognize the properties in a machine and the patterns of motion that can be
used to make the machine move

Lesson Plan:
Introduction Day #1

students that they met some mechanical engineers in the story Leif Catches the Wind. Ask:
Who were the mechanical engineers in the story? Leifs mom, Leif, and Dana
What machines did they work on? Windmills, wind turbines, and wind- powered paddles
From what you have learned, what do you think mechanical engineers do? Mechanical engineers

design machines, or parts of machines. They also figure out ways to make machines work better
Explain to students that today they are going to spend some time examining machines the way that mechanical
engineers do. (Post the guiding question on chart paper or board)

How do mechanical engineers observe and think about machines?

Information Giving: Day #1

Probe students conceptions of machines. Ask:

What exactly is a machine? A machine is an object that uses transfers or changes energy in order

to do work or complete a task (Post definition on chart paper or board)

Can you think of some examples of machines? Students are likely to brainstorm large machines,
such as cars and tractors. At this point accept and record all answers on chart paper (revisit at end of

Take a look around you. What machines do you see? _________

Mechanical engineers have helped design and improve all of these objects
Many people think that mechanical engineers only work with large machines, such as airplanes and
automobiles but they also design small machines, parts, and processes
Add other small machines to chart that students can brainstorm at the time

Modeling: Day #1

*A common misconception is that all machines have moving parts- this is not true. Some simple machine, such as
an inclined plane and a wedge, have no moving parts at all. (Draw an example of an incline plane and wedge on
chart paper or the board for a visual example)
Tell students that you are now going to show them an example of a machine and, as a class they are going to
analyze how it moves and why it is useful. (Show class egg beater)

Are you surprised that this is a machine? Why?

Help students to understand why the egg beater is a machine by guiding them to reference the definition of a
machine as we complete the Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Egg Beater

Check for Understanding: Day #1 & Day #2

Guide students through the following questions and points to encourage comprehension before starting
Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Egg Beater
(Recap both Day 1 & 2 of lesson to ensure students understand)
Machines require what to work:__________ (force/energy)
Can forces act on a machine in a negative way? (they could twist or break a machine if force to high)
What type of machines do mechanical engineers work on? (large and small)
Machine change or use energy in order to do work. They can be any size
Can a machine work without motion, force or energy put into it?
Teacher Tips:
*If students have difficulty identifying where they put energy into the machine, guide them to think about
what they must do to the machine in order to make it work.
*cause and effect
*When discussing advantages of machines, the concept of a machine being easy to use versus being
efficient may come up. Completing tasks in less time or with less effort relates to a machined efficiency.
Ease of use could relate to how using a machine affects your body, or how it feels.
*Fact: there is a whole field of study related to matching the design of a machine to the person who will be
using it. This field is called ergonomics.

Guided Practice: Day #1

Do this worksheet with the class to set them up for the following activity on Day #2
Think Like a Mechanical Engineer; Egg Beater

What is the purpose of this machine? To whisk, whip, mix, or beat eggs or other ingredients

Where do you act on the machine to make it work (red)? Where do you put energy into the

machine? By turning the handle.

Where is the resulting motion? The handle moves in a circle, which turns a gear that turns the

Point out that the energy students put into the machine (the action of turning the handle) is changed in
the order to create a motion (the beaters moving) that accomplishes a task just as the definition of a
machine states!

What are the advantages of using this machine? If I did not have this machine I would have to use

a spoon or a fork and use more arm strength. This machine makes whisking or mixing easier and more
If students have difficulty identifying advantages of using the machine, have them consider what they would
have to do if they did not have this machine. How would they accomplish the same task without a machine?
Does the machine help to complete the task in less time? Does the machine help to use less energy to complete
the same task?

What are the disadvantages of using this machine? It is harder to clean; it is bigger than a spoon

or a fork, and tasks up more space in a drawer or dishwasher

Explain to students that mechanical engineers, whether they are working on a small part of a large machine, or
a whole machine, must think about how the parts of the machine works to change or use energy to complete
Teacher Tips
*Just because a machine is easy or efficient does not always mean that it requires the user to do less work
or use less force. (Example pulley)
*May need to define the word (efficient) with students if they are not familiar with the term
Efficient: Able to achieve a goal quickly and easily with minimal wasted time or effort.

Independent Practice: Day #2


Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Can Opener

Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Glue Stick
Think Like a Mechanical Engineer: Mechanical Pencil

Safety will be addressed about how students should act around the machines
(As students using the can opener need to use caution when handling the machine)
Tell students now they are going to act as mechanical engineers and observe some other machines. They will be
investigating the purpose of the machine, how the machine uses energy, and the advantages and disadvantages
of the machine.

Ask students to get out a red and blue crayon

Students will be divided up into pairs and given a table color to go to

Students will then fill out the date sheet on the machine that they are investigating

Pairs will be given time to tinker with the machines and investigate

Remind students that they should think about how they must move the machine in order to make it
work (where they put energy in) as well as how the machine moves in response (how the work is done)
Tell students at the beginning that I have figured out a secret way in order to decide a speaker of the
group at the end of the activity so to be sure that everyone is participating so they will know what to say
at the end (sticker under chair; one for speaker 1, another for speaker 2 if speaker 1 may need help)
Once student have completed their date sheet we will gain focus whole class and start to share our results

Guide students to realize that their action of moving one part of a machine causes a resulting motion
at another part of the machine. Ask:
Can you think of any other machines in which your action causes a motion that does something
useful? Turning a knob on a door will make it open, pushing down on a stapler will make a staple come


Also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each machine. Ask:

What are some of the advantages of using this machine?
What would you need to do if you did not have this machine?
Does having this machine help you complete the task more efficiently?
What are some disadvantages of using this machine?

Explain to students that mechanical engineers, whether they are working on a small part of a large machine, or
a whole machine, must think about how to make machines that help us do work effectively and efficiently, and
the parts of the machine must interact smoothly so it is easy.
Show students the old fashion pencil sharpener, then the hand held, then electric. Guide them into thinking of
the advantages and disadvantages of each one and the talk about how it could be improve and continue
improving the machine till you reach the electric pencil sharpener. This will allow student to see a progression
of their thought process on how to improve machines

Assessment/Evaluation (Students): Day #2 & Day #3

Return to the guiding question Ask:

How do mechanical engineers observe and think about machines? They examine all different parts,
how they work together for the machine to function easily and efficiently. Observe how energy is
transferred or changes
Return to chart paper from Introduction Ask:

Now that you have practice examining machines and thinking like a mechanical engineer, is there
anything you would like to add to or change about this list? (place sticky notes up for student

Are any of the machines on this chart the similar? (have moving parts and use energy to help us do

Different? (many of the machines on our list are much more complicated than the ones we explored)

Point out that some machines have few parts and seem simple, others have many parts and are more

Classroom Machines? (Return to chart and list)

Return to Think About It Question

Finally, remind students that throughout this lesson they learned that mechanical engineers also think about
ways to make machines as easy to use and efficient as possible

Can you think of any ways to improve the machine that we looked at today so they are even
more efficient or easier to use? Yes, you could make any of the machines electric to save your own

energy, add padding to handles to make more comfortable, use parts that will reduce friction so they
are easier to use

Machine Charades Day #2
I prepared flash cards with a variety of types of machines for students to act out the motion of the machine
(sounds aloud if needed). Give student the time to discuss their charade and then have each pair discuss as a
May need to spread out students so they dont worry about others seeing or hearing their machine charade
Students will then perform their machine as a pair for the class to guess they may use sounds in order to
express their machine.
(Can Opener, Stapler, Car, Seesaw [teeter-tater], clock, hand sanitizer, train, mechanical pencil, bike, pencil
sharpener, airplane)
Inefficient Machines? Day #3
Review with students the definition of efficient
Show video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMpmit5YMcg
Sesame Street Rube Goldberg Machines
Have students draw a Rube Goldberg style machine to open a can, mix batter, or sharpen a pencil

BRAIN BREAK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxIJzyLGV_Y&list=PLF3AEC615F3FF72BC



Two student may be taken out and/ or returning from speech/sped but they will be able to come right in a join the
Many visuals are provided in this lesson to help a variety of different students in the class

Assessment/Evaluation (Self):