Engineering amusement rides in the elementary school

A carnival broke out in the middle of a science unit in Mrs. Karnitz’s fourth grade class. During their latest science unit on simple machines, students were challenged to use their knowledge of pulley systems and electrical circuits to built a working amusement park ride. Her class worked in collaborative groups to design, plan, and build their rides using supplies ranging from straws to towels to cardboard. There was sawing, hot gluing, assembling, taking apart and reassembling during the building work days.

Each group was given a different type of ride to create, including building a ride for thrill seekers, toddler rides, rides for those who are scared of heights, and a variety of other parameters. Teamwork and problem solving were in the forefront as students figured out how to adjust the speed of the ride or how they were going to raise and lower the ride off the ground. In the end it was a fantastic example of how fun and learning can be brought together to make an impact on the education of our  students. (Beth Karnitz, grade 4 teacher)