Fun with a World in Motion

By Walrath, Doug | Technology and Children, September 2006 | Go to article overview

Fun with a World in Motion


Walrath, Doug, Technology and Children


My, how the times have changed for educational toys! Tinker Toys and Lego building blocks have given way to a new generation of construction toys such as K'NEX and Lego Mindstorms: products with motors, sensors, and computer programming capabilities. What is a teacher to do in order to provide students with opportunities to meet their instructional goals, while operating on a teacher's budget? This issue's resource column will provide you with a number of new ideas to implement as a new school year begins.

a world in motion resource

Have you ever considered bringing a local engineer into your classroom to work with your students? The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) would like to partner with you on this endeavor and has developed classroom resources to support you. The engineering community is well aware of the challenges facing engineering-related occupations in our country. Knowing that students, especially girls, need to be introduced to multidisciplinary activities that are FUN is the key to easing fears related to engineering content.

Looking for fun and exciting math and science experiences for your students? The SAE Foundation has produced four challenges designed for elementary and middle school-aged children in their A World in Motion curriculum. A World in Motion consists of four grade-specific challenges that are designed to excite students about the laws of physics, motion, flight, and electronics. Included within this FREE curriculum are standards based products with lesson plans and instructional materials for up to 30 students.

The first World in Motion activity addresses math and science concepts for students in Grades 4-6. Your students will enjoy the challenge of building a jet toy while investigating force, motion, and basic concepts such as gravity, acceleration, inertia, and resistance in a way that offers both learning and creative challenges. Additional challenges will excite students with hands-on learning of the engineering design experience. Take a look at what supplies are provided for FREE with challenge #2.

Challenge 2 components consist of a wide range of materials. One classroom set of laboratory materials (see photo above) contains nine (9) sets of laboratory and fabrication materials to meet the needs of nine student design teams (from 23 to 30 students). A teachers' kit contains videos to help launch the program and the teachers' manual, posters, and ordering information. You will find similar resources with challenge #3 (gliders) and challenge #4 (electricity and electronics).

The SAE Foundation for Science and Technology Education is committed to partnering with education to meet the future engineering needs of the country. …

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