Junk Box Wars

"To invent, you need a good
imagination and a pile of junk."
Thomas Edison
Presented at CSTA Conference
October 13, 2012
Laura Rodriguez
Hall Memorial School
Willington, CT
Defining and delimiting engineering problems
involves stating the problem to be solved as clearly
as possible in terms of criteria for success and
constraints, or limits.
Designing solutions to engineering problems begins
with generating a number of different possible
solutions, evaluating potential solutions to see which
ones best meet the criteria and constraints of the
problem, then testing and revising the best designs.
Optimizing the design solution involves a process of
tradeoffs, in which the final design is improved by
trading off less important features for those that are
more important. This may require a number of
iterations before arriving at the best possible design.
K–2: What are different ways to solve
problems and meet challenges?
 3–5: How can people work together to
create better designs?
 6–8: How can different solutions to problems
be compared, tested, and refined to arrive
at the best design?
 9–12: How are quantitative investigations,
analyses, and simulations used to define
problems, and develop and refine
Each episode takes place in a huge, specially constructed
junkyard, where two teams of engineers and mechanics get ten
hours to build machines scrounged from junk. Later, the teams
put their contraptions to the test in a competition
 5 Episodes on http://app.discoveryeducation.com/search
Mechanical Monsters - Students drive remote control vehicles up steep
Cool Cars: Teams build drag racers and all-terrain vehicles
Wild Watercraft: Teams build power boats and power rafts
Wind Machines: This episode consists of two competitions. In one, teams
Air Movers: Teams build hovercraft and street sweepers.
ramps covered in different substances such as mud and sandpaper to
determine the fastest surface. Then, teams compete to build and race
monster trucks and climbing cars
build working gliders and in the other, they build sand yachts and sailboats
with wheels that are designed to race on land
Junkyard Wars for the Classroom
 Science Spot Junk Box Wars
 Science Rocks 8
Think about it? – Planning page
 Wrapping it Up – Reflection
 Rubric
The Weakest Link- Build the longest chain
that will hold the most weight
 Bridge Challenge – Build a bridge that
will support the most weight
 Super Structures – Build a structure that
will hold the most pennies
Zoom Machines – Create a “Zoom
machine” that will travel a distance of 4
meters in the shortest amount of time
 Battle of the Boats – Create a boat that
will travel a specified distance in the
shortest amount of time
 Magnificent Marble Maze – Create a
marble maze that will take the longest
time for a marble to complete
Whirling Wonders – Create a wheel
powered by water that will pull the
greatest amount of string
Super Subs – Create a submarine that will
sink and come to the surface in the
shortest amount of time
Day 1 ( 20 MIN):
• Introduce and Explain Challenge
• Students Brainstorm ideas
• Complete “Think It” overnight
Day 2 (80 MIN):
• Students choose design
• Students build it, test it, modify design
Day 3 (40 MIN):
• Final fixes and competition
• Students complete “Wrap it Up”
 http://sciencespot.net/Pages/junkboxpr
 http://teachers.egfi-k12.org/designprocess/
 http://www.nextgenscience.org