For the past couple of years, my 4th graders have started the year with a catapult inquiry project. Each time we work through this unit, I learn something new to improve my students learning. This
year we focused more on planning our ideas and building prototypes (they really just want to go in the MakerSpace and begin making) but we really talked about the benefit of planning. Using the Launch Cycle Design Model, we are working through the steps to help us build a successful catapult.
We looked at the plans for our newest school addition to reinforce why the planning process is so important and the details that are required for a successful project.
The planning and design process was taken very seriously!
Working in the MakerSpace during the planning process to see what materials are available for their builds.
A prototype and the plan!
This year I am being a stickler about requiring the kids to build from their plan and not veer off course. Some tweaks may be necessary but they need to stick with their plan or look at another one of their design ideas. When we launch, they will need to have their plan to show as well. In the past, many of my students have produced a catapult that did follow a plan at all.