No matter where we live, each and every one of us depends on transportation to some degree. Whether it's in our own personal cars or on public transportation shared with others, transportation is an important technology developed by engineers. Our focus in this unit will be on the Maglev train!
Nearing the end of our transportation engineering unit, fourth graders finished testing the Maglev models. Students had to consider the direction of the magnets and the weight of the passengers above. Ultimately, no passengers could escape the train when the Maglev stopped. Safety was their #1 concern as transportation engineers!
An engineer's job is never done. Testing and improving a Maglev is hard work. Fourth graders have to think about the dimensions of their train, how to keep their passengers safe, and how to carry more passengers if their train has done so safely. Transportation engineers must think about efficiency, so having more passengers moved safely from one place to another means they have reached their goal!
With our transportation challenge coming to a climax, fourth graders are ready to design, create and test their own Maglev trains! There are three main criteria for the challenge.
1. The Maglev must levitate on the track.
2. The Maglev must carry as many passengers (glass beads) as possible.
3. The passengers must remain safe throughout their journey on the Maglev (no falling out!)
Each design is unique and is being tested over and over again! Keep up the great work, fourth grade!
Transportation engineers have MANY things to think about when it comes to designing transportation. But two main factors they have to consider are actually getting transportation to move AND making sure that passengers are moved safely!
Using deflating balloons as a force, fourth graders designed transportation devices to sail along a fish line track. While many designs were unsuccessful, the fourth graders' failures are leading them to think about how they will design their own Maglev trains next. They'll be combining their knowledge or magnetism, forces, and safety to carry passengers along a magnetic track!
How can you measure the strength of a magnet?
With a two-pan balance? With a timer? With a thermometer?
Using a ruler, fourth graders measured the distance a paper clip would "jump," or be attracted to a magnet. They engaged in rich discussion as to what each distance they measured meant, and they came to the conclusion that the greater the distance a paper clip could "jump" meant that the magnet had a greater magnetic field. Magnets whose magnetic field was weaker meant a paper clip would have to be pulled closer towards the paper clip to be affected by the magnetic field. Awesome experimenting fourth grade!
How do you find the poles of an unmarked magnet? By experimenting with them, of course! Fourth graders have been introduced to four different types of magnets. Each of these magnets has two poles, but not all of them are labeled. Experimenting with the magnets, they were able to collect evidence to support their claim that every magnet has two poles, but where they are located depends on the type of magnet you've got!
While our focus in this unit will be on transportation engineering, fourth graders will also be focusing on magnetism! Our first focus with magnets is learning how they interact with other magnets! We created a model and then revised it based on our experiences. Our conclusion today...when the poles of two magnets that face each other are the same (N-N or S-S), the poles will repel. When the poles of two magnets that face each other are the opposite, the poles will attract!
Hikaru is a young boy living in Japan. His parents own a small toy shop and everything goes well until a larger, competitive toy store opens across the street.
With knowledge gained from a transportation engineer, Hikaru develops a simple technology of his own that can get customers to visit his parents' toy shop over their competitor's! The solution is all based on transportation and magnetism! How cool!
Key Words: transportation, technology, magnetism, attraction, repulsion, north pole, south pole, fair