Hands-on Activity Design an Egyptian Playground

(0 Ratings)

Quick Look

Grade Level: 6 (6-8)

Time Required: 3 hours

(can be split into three 60-minute sessions)

Expendable Cost/Group: US $0.00

Group Size: 4

Activity Dependency: None

Subject Areas: Science and Technology

NGSS Performance Expectations:

NGSS Three Dimensional Triangle
MS-ETS1-1
MS-ETS1-2

Summary

Student teams use their knowledge about ancient Egypt to design playgrounds for Egyptian children. This involves brainstorming ideas on paper, building models with LEGO® bricks or other materials, and explaining their ideas to the class in five-minute presentations.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

A children's playground in Utah.
A children's playground
copyright
Copyright © http://sandy.utah.gov/uploads/RTEmagicC_lone_peak_playground.jpg.jpg

Engineering Connection

Engineers work within constraints such as available materials and what is acceptable for a certain culture. In this activity, students study early Egyptian cultural influences and design playgrounds for children in ancient Egypt. Designing and building is essential to engineering. Engineers follow the steps of the design process to help them create the best possible solutions to real-world problems. 

Learning Objectives

After completing this activity, students will know the steps of the engineering design process.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

NGSS Performance Expectation

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)

Do you agree with this alignment?

Click to view other curriculum aligned to this Performance Expectation
This activity focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.

Alignment agreement:

The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions.

Alignment agreement:

All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

Alignment agreement:

The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.

Alignment agreement:

NGSS Performance Expectation

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (Grades 6 - 8)

Do you agree with this alignment?

Click to view other curriculum aligned to this Performance Expectation
This activity focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria.

Alignment agreement:

There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

Alignment agreement:

  • Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design. (Grades K - 12) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Students will develop an understanding of engineering design. (Grades K - 12) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Students will develop abilities to apply the design process. (Grades K - 12) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Evaluate designs based on criteria, constraints, and standards. (Grades 3 - 5) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Meeting societal expectations is the driving force behind the acceptance and use of products and systems. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • There is no perfect design. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Design involves a set of steps, which can be performed in different sequences and repeated as needed. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Modeling, testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Make two-dimensional and three-dimensional representations of the designed solution. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Apply the technology and engineering design process. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Refine design solutions to address criteria and constraints. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Develop innovative products and systems that solve problems and extend capabilities based on individual or collective needs and wants. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Analyze how an invention or innovation was influenced by its historical context. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Create solutions to problems by identifying and applying human factors in design. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Critue whether existing and proposed technologies use resources sustainably. (Grades 9 - 12) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process, i.e., identify the need or problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, select the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Demonstrate methods of representing solutions to a design problem, e.g., sketches, orthographic projections, multiview drawings. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

  • Construct a prototype of a solution to a given design problem. (Grade 7) More Details

    View aligned curriculum

    Do you agree with this alignment?

Suggest an alignment not listed above

Subscribe

Get the inside scoop on all things TeachEngineering such as new site features, curriculum updates, video releases, and more by signing up for our newsletter!
PS: We do not share personal information or emails with anyone.

Materials List

  • paper and pencils
  • books on ancient Egypt, or computers with Internet access, for research
  • (optional) computer with CAD tool software
  • LEGO bricks or other building blocks, or other materials such as cardboard boxes, tape, scissors, sand, paint, etc.

More Curriculum Like This

Upper Elementary Lesson
Simple Machines and Modern Day Engineering Analogies

Students apply the mechanical advantages and problem-solving capabilities of six types of simple machines (wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, pulley) as they discuss modern structures in the spirit of the engineers and builders of the great pyramids.

Upper Elementary Lesson
Let's Move It!

Students explore methods employing simple machines likely used in ancient pyramid building, as well as common modern-day material transportation. They learn about the wheel and axle as a means to transport materials from rock quarry to construction site.

High School Lesson
The Heart of Our Cardiovascular System

Students learn about the heart and its role at the center of the human cardiovascular system. In the associated activity, students play out a scenario in which they are biomedical engineers asked to design artificial hearts.

Pre-Req Knowledge

General knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture and architecture. (As necessary, make this a research assignment prior to the design component of the activity.)

Introduction/Motivation

Egypt's children are in dire need of a playground. The Pharaoh has just appointed you as the new royal playground designer. Your new job is to come up with a model playground using the engineering design process and present it to the Pharaoh.

The Great Sphinx with the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt
copyright
Copyright © Daniel Mayer. Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giza_Plateau_-_Great_Sphinx_with_Pyramid_of_Khafre_in_background.JPG

Several steps compose the process of inventing, regardless of the product or process you want to create. Who knows the first step in the engineering design process? The first step in designing a good solution is to ask questions to define the need and the audience. You will need to work with your team to decide what you will be designing. What is the problem you are trying to solve, and who are you designing it for? By understanding the end user, you and your team will be able to design a functional playground that meets the all the criteria and constraints you outline. 

Engineers make sure to research the end user, the products that already exist, or what technologies that could be adaptable to their needs. In this case, it is important to understand the types of materials and technologies that were available during the Egyptian time period.

After all of these things have been decided, engineers imagine design ideas. With your team, you will come up with many different ideas that could be used to accomplish your final task of creating a playground for the children of Egypt. Then your engineering team plan by choosing which ones to use and create a prototype of the design.

Why is it important to design your playground first, either as a drawing, physical prototype, or a clear idea in your mind? (Answer: To just start building could lead you to a design you don't like or doesn't work for the intended user, and we don't want to waste materials and time.)

copyright
Copyright © TeachEngineering 2022.

Procedure

Ask the students if they know what the engineering design process (EDP) is. (Wait for student answers). Explain that the EDP is a process that engineers use to solve complex problems every day. Use the information and graphic in the introduction/motivation to introduce the different steps to the students. 

Design Process Step 1—Ask to Identify the Problem

Make sure student teams are clear on the criteria to design and model an ancient Egyptian playground. Clearly define and discuss constraints (materials, time, etc.).

Design Process Step 2—Research

Use books or the Internet as research and reference tools to learn about the culture of ancient Egypt, and the questions that arise in thinking about available materials and construction techniques available at that time and place. Ask the Investigating Questions to help students focus their research. Explain to the students that understanding the culture of their user is incredibly important in making sure your final design would be accepted and successful. 

Design Process Step 3—Imagine Possible Solutions

Brainstorm ideas. Draw layouts of playground designs. Indicate materials and dimensions on the designs. Encourage the students to use their research to guide their brainstorming, be creative, and think out of the box! Let them know that they should focus on imagining several different designs.  

Design Process Step 4—Plan by Selecting a Promising Solution

Ask the students to talk with each other and explain the ideas they developed in the previous step. Have each team choose the best one to build a model for the Pharaoh presentation.

Design Process Step 5—Develop a Prototype (Model)

Using the available resources (LEGO bricks, CAD software or scrap materials), construct model playgrounds based on research and drawn designs.

Design Process Step 6—Evaluate

Have groups compare each others' playground models and discuss differences, similarities, materials, features and functionality.

In five-minute presentations (as if to the Pharaoh), have students describe and explain the rationale for their model playground architecture and layouts. Leave time for audience questions and feedback. As a class, decide which team's design would win the Pharaoh's approval.

Design Process Step 7—Improve

With what they learned from the critique of their own design, and the ideas from other designs, have students amend their drawings with improvements that they would incorporate to make better playground designs.

Assessment

Final Pharaoh Presentation: Assess students based on their creativity; team involvement; incorporation of realistically available materials in ancient Egypt; model accuracy and details; and presentation content, clarity and style.

Investigating Questions

  • What building materials would be available in ancient Egypt?
  • What modern building materials would not be availble in ancient Egypt?
  • What construction methods would be available in ancient Egypt?

Additional Multimedia Support

Learn more about the steps of the engineering design process at https://www.teachengineering.org/engrdesignprocess.php

Copyright

© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Contributors

Heather Blackwell; Bryan Licciadri; Anthony Trinh

Supporting Program

Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, Tufts University

Acknowledgements

The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: April 7, 2022

User Comments & Tips

Free K-12 standards-aligned STEM curriculum for educators everywhere.
Find more at TeachEngineering.org