Lesson Focus

Lesson focuses on how engineers design tire treads to increase safety and reliability. Students are presented with the challenge of designing a new tire tread that will be safe when driving in rainy conditions. Student teams will design and construct a sample tread out of clay, then test and evaluate the effectiveness of the design, evaluate their results, and present their findings to the class.


Full Lesson Plan
Student Worksheets

Translated Lessons:

Age Levels:

8 – 18


  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about planning and construction.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • engineering
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students learn how tire tread patterns are developed and changed over time to achieve safety and efficiency in a range of driving conditions. Students work in teams to develop a new tread pattern to prevent hydroplaning in heavy rain — first on paper and then by building a clay model. Teams evaluate their own systems and that of other students, and present their findings to the class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.