Student pairs are given 10 minutes to create the biggest box possible using one piece of construction paper. Teams use only scissors and tape to each construct a box and determine how much puffed rice it can hold. Then, to meet the challenge, they improve their designs to create bigger boxes. They plot the class data, comparing measured to calculated volumes for each box, seeing the mathematical relationship. They discuss how the concepts of volume and design iteration are important for engineers. Making 3-D shapes also supports the development of spatial visualization skills. This activity and its associated lesson and activity all employ volume and geometry to cultivate seeing patterns and understanding scale models, practices used in engineering design to analyze the effectiveness of proposed design solutions.
Students learn about linear programming (also called linear optimization) to solve engineering design problems. As they work through a word problem as a class, they learn about the ideas of constraints, feasibility and optimization related to graphing linear equalities. Then they apply this information to solve two practice engineering design problems related to optimizing materials and cost by graphing inequalities, determining coordinates and equations from their graphs, and solving their equations. It is suggested that students conduct the associated activity, Optimizing Pencils in a Tray, before this lesson, although either order is acceptable.
More recently, a Swiss study of students in Grades 1 and 5 has examined the effects of supplementing the regular PE curriculum (3 weekly 45 minutes PE lessons taught by a classroom teacher) by twice weekly 45 minutes specialist-taught PE lessons, several 5 minutes PA breaks throughout the school day, and 10 minutes of daily PA homework in the context of a cluster randomized control trial. Accelerometry data suggested that students in the experimental group accumulated more MVPA and total PA than controls during school time, but unfortunately in this study there was a compensatory reduction of PA during leisure hours, so that the experimental group did not increase their total activity for the day relative to controls. 2b1af7f3a8