Lesson Focus

Lesson explores the engineering behind life vests or personal flotation devices and the challenges met by these devices. Students work in teams to design and build a flotation device out of everyday materials that can keep an unopened can of soup or vegetables afloat in a bucket of water or sink for a minute. They design their life vest, build and test it, evaluate their designs and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.


Download:

Full Lesson Plan
Student Worksheets


Age Levels:

8 – 14

Objectives

  • Learn about engineering design and redesign.
  • Learn about personal floatation devices (PFDs).
  • Learn how engineering can help solve society’s challenges.
  • Learn about teamwork and problem solving.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

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

  • engineering design
  • safety and society
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students explore how engineers have solved societal problems such as developing and improving equipment that helps save lives in water emergencies. Students work in teams to develop a flotation device out of everyday materials than can keep an unopened can of soup or vegetables afloat for a minute in a bucket of water or a sink. They evaluate their results, and the results of other teams, and share their reflections with the class.

Resources/Materials

  • Teacher Resource Documents
  • Student Resource Sheet
  • Student Worksheet

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.