Lesson 4

The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems

Designing a Maglev System / Grade 5 / Hollywood, FL


The EIE Curriculum

Students use their knowledge of the properties of magnets and the Engineering Design Process (EDP) to design a maglev transportation system. 

Reflection Questions

What important points about the process of engineering does Kelly review in her final discussion?

  • She points out that engineers have more success when they work in groups (11:48) and that building on one another’s ideas is not “copying.” (12:28)
  • She explains ideas that do not work are not necessarily mistakes; sometimes you need to try things to learn if they work. (12:05)
  • She implies that the improvement process is continual, and engineers are always improving their work. (12:15)

In what ways, and in what parts of the lesson, does Kelly reinforce each step of the Engineering Design Process?

Kelly explicitly calls out each of the five steps and makes students aware of their own progress through the steps.

  • For the Ask step, Kelly fields questions about the design challenge (1:49) and has students record properties of magnets they have already asked about that might help them with the design challenge. (4:38)
  • For the Imagine Step, students look at a bag of sample materials and brainstorm two ideas for building the maglev transportation system. (5:44)
  • Before moving to the Create step, groups must work together to decide on one Plan that they will build. (7:26)
  • After developing a Plan, Kelly reminds her students that testing is part of the Create step and gives them 30 minutes to create and test. (8:10)
  • Kelly has students use the last page of the EDP packet to record their ideas for Improving their transportation system, and gives them 30 minutes to work on improvements. (10:10)