Welcome to TAME Engineering Adventures! Our goal is to help you challenge your students with hands-on learning.
This Engineering Adventure is to design and build a machine to wrap a fuselage! This was the 2016 State Engineering Design Challenge, sponsored by Boeing, and we’ve adapted it here for the classroom. It's a great way to get your TAME Club members to start thinking like engineers in preparation for our STEM Competitions.
Introduction: How to think like an engineer
This handy graphic, courtesy of our friends at Iridescent
's Curiosity Machine
, is worth referring to throughout the year. The emphasis of each Design Challenge is not on winning, but on the collaborative design process. Every Challenge is an opportunity for students to practice both individual and collaborative problem-solving and to reflect on how they might improve for the next time.
Just what is a fuselage, anyway? For a warm-up, we suggest this great short video
, Wrapping Composite Planes with Boeing Engineer Michelle Bohne
, from our partner Curiosity Machine.
Next, ask students to imagine what it would feel like to build a plane, a helicopter, a drone, or a totally new kind of flying machine. Ask students to list all the things they imagine they need to do in order to make that happen. Would they be afraid to fail? Why?
The first 10 minutes of this 25-minute TED Ed talk and lesson is a great jumping off point for discussion: From mach-20 glider to humming bird drone - Regina Dugan
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail.
Competition Adventure: Wrap A Fuselage 2016 State Challenge
Boeing’s newest plane, the 787 Dreamliner, is very fuel efficient because it is made of lightweight composite materials. Carbon fiber is one such composite material. Thin, thin carbon fibers are encased within plastic to create a material that is lightweight, but strong. The fiber is then wrapped around a shape to create a skin. For the 787, Boeing engineers designed and built a machine that wrapped carbon fiber around the fuselage evenly, quickly, and in multiple directions.
Project Overview: You have 60 minutes to design and build a human-powered wrapping machine for an airplane fuselage. Each team will be given a fuselage (cardboard tube) that must be wrapped in the fiber (yarn). The fuselage and fiber may not be modified. The wrapping machine must be self-supported, and the wrapping mechanism will be operated by a team-member for 20 seconds.
This PowerPoint presentation and these Team Instructions were used at the 2016 State Competition, and they will lead you through the Design Challenge from concept to scoring. You can decide whether you want to follow the guidelines to a T, or simplify for your classroom.
Primary objectives: Consistency and coverage. You want your wrapping machine to consistently and evenly cover as much of the fuselage as possible.
Suggested time: 60 minutes
Suggested scoring: Points for each inch of fuselage covered, plus points for your wrapping mechanism working for 20 seconds. Additional awards can be given for creative designs. See PowerPoint for scoring sheet and additional scoring categories.
Suggested materials: Teachers, feel free to simplify by using materials on hand. In many cases the competitors did not use all the materials, so it is likely you can run this competition with what you have in your classroom.
Materials per team:
RAW MATERIALS, MAY BE ALTERED
1 cardboard tube (fuselage, may not be cut or otherwise altered)
1 sheet cardboard
1 strip masking tape
1 Ziploc bag
1 sheet chipboard
2 paper clips
2 rubber bands
1 bundle of yarn
OTHER RESOURCES, MAY NOT BE ALTERED OR USED
1 pair of scissors
1 set of instructions
1 team number sign
Team member roles:
Since one goal of TAME's competitions is to help students envision a future in a STEM career, all team members are assigned roles, just like a real engineering team. Each person is expected to complete their assigned "deliverable" during the competition. Feedback from participants over the years suggests that this helps students speak up in their role even if they do not know their teammates. Students who use professional titles during the Engineering Design Challenge seem to take more pride in their work and be more likely to identify with a future in STEM.
SYSTEM ENGINEER will verify that the wrapping machine has a name, team members have specific roles, and documentation is complete. She/he will work with the rest of the team to answer the design-related questions.
DESIGN ENGINEER will lead the overall design and is responsible for including the design drawing(s) in the documentation. She/he will lead the team in developing a strategy to maximize points earned.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER will verify that the fuselage is self-supported, and that the mechanism works without any team member holding/supporting any part, including the fiber.
PRODUCTION ENGINEER will lead the building phase of the competition. She/he will ensure that all the materials and tools provided are considered by the team when building the wrapping machine.
TEST ENGINEER will be responsible for engaging the fiber for wrapping and working the wrapping mechanism at judging.
Downloading the free materials:
Ready to tackle the challenge? You can download a PDF version of the 2016 Engineering Design Challenge Team Instructions using the button below. Click here
to download the 2016 Engineering Design Challenge PowerPoint Presentation to introduce students to this challenge.
These activities are a great chance for students to observe the joys and frustrations of collaborative design. Once the competition is over, ask your students to reflect on their experience. Was it easy to work with a team? What was easy and what was hard? What would each student do differently the next time? What would they do the same?
Check out this TED Ed lesson: The Future of Air Travel. "It used to be that you could get on a Concorde jet and fly across the Atlantic ocean faster than the speed of sound, but what does the future hold for supersonic flight? Sci Show takes a look."
Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS) for this Adventure
Middle School TEKS Tie-Ins:
6th Grade Science
- Investigate the relationship between force and motion of the wrapping machine using a variety of means, including calculations and measurements
- Measure and graph changes in motion when testing the wrapping machine
- Discuss the history and future of flight exploration, including the types of equipment and transportation needed for air travel
6th Grade Math
- Generate ratios, fractions, and decimals with the measurements of thewrapping machine and fuselage while constructing
- Represent data graphically with dot plots, stem-and-leaf plots, histograms, or box plots to evaluate results of the wrapping machine
7th Grade Science
- Identify advantages and limitations of different designs such as size, scale, properties, and materials
7th Grade Math
- Solve mathematical and real-world problems involving similar shape and scale drawings of the wrapping machine
- Compare data represented in bar graphs, dot plots, and circle graphs and can use to compare different designs of wrapping machines
8th Grade Science
- Demonstrate and calculate how unbalanced forces affect the speed or direction of the wrapping machine's motion
8th Grade Math
- Create graph and plots to understand the relationships of data gathered about the wrapping machine
High School TEKS Tie-Ins:
- Have students sketch the top, side and front views and use those views to find the surface area of the wrapping machine
- Help identify two-dimensional shapes of different cross sections of the three-dimensional shapes of the wrapping machine
Physics/Integrated Physics and Chemistry
- Students can collect data and make measurements with precision and record data using International System (SI) units
- Organize, analyze, evaluate, make inferences, and predict trends from data; and communicate valid conclusions
- Describe and calculate the wrapping machine's motion in terms of position, displacement, speed, and acceleration
- Assess the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, noting the relationship is independent of the nature of the force
- Students can develop and interpret free-body force diagrams of their wrapping machines
Astronomy/Earth & Space Science
- Understand the importance of air-based technology like high-atmosphere airplanes in astronomical studies
Looking for more?
Many of these ideas come from our curated idea boards on Pinterest. If you liked these, you'll love our Engineering: Activities for All Ages board!
With over 5,000 pins organized into over 50 different boards, TAME's Pinterest presence is specially curated to help teachers, parents, and students of all ages get excited about STEM.