Hands-on Activity: Engineer a Sneaker
Educational Standards :
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this activity, students should be able to:
Materials List (Return to Contents)
Each group needs:
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
Sneakers are designed for an assortment of uses. Each application has specific characteristics that must be taken into account before manufacturing. What are your ideas for a sneaker that has never been made before?
Today, you will define specific characteristics for your sneaker, select suitable materials, and create a prototype, just as engineers do.
Vocabulary/Definitions (Return to Contents)
Procedure (Return to Contents)
Designing today's sneakers is an engineering science that combines physics, biomechanics and materials science. The engineering designs take advantage of a wide range materials and creative structural concepts to provide durability, comfort, cushioning and stability. Good designs also consider the characteristics of various foot types (female, male, child) since each has typical shapes and proportions. For example, women's feet are usually narrower with higher arches than men's feet. The inside layout of a well-designed sneaker takes these physical differences into account. Another important consideration is the activity application. Each sport has different footwear requirements; some require high flexibility, others maximum cushioning or high traction.
Before the Activity
With the Students
Part 1: Modeling and Building a Sneaker
Part 2: Evaluating and Improving the Design
Attachments (Return to Contents)
Safety Issues (Return to Contents)
Investigating Questions (Return to Contents)
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Post-Activity Assessment: Observe class participation in during the discussion about sneaker characteristics.
Activity Embedded Assessment: Evaluate design success during testing. Rate criteria using a 1-3 scale.
Post-Activity Assessment: Assign students to write descriptions of their sneaker designs, explaining the reasons for each feature and what activities they would be best suited for.
Activity Extensions (Return to Contents)
Have students create a list of other types of footwear. From this list, either discuss the importance of (or create a graph that shows) the same design criteria (height, stiffness, cushioning, traction) for each of these.
Activity Scaling (Return to Contents)
References (Return to Contents)
"Sneakers: From Start to Finish (Made in the USA)" Samuel G. Woods, Gale Zucker (photographer)
Copyright© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2001 WEPAN/Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)Making the Connection, Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN)
Acknowledgements (Return to Contents)
Project funded by Lucent Technologies Foundation.