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.
8 – 14
- 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
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.
- Teacher Resource Documents
- Student Resource Sheet
- Student Worksheet
Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.