Designing Better Tools – Online Installation

For the first Design & Engineering Action Project, GCE Junior students investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools? 

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please find below the online installation we created, featuring some of the innovative garden tools students designed. Please click on the tools to open the student work.

National Standards

Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

LANES, Abby (2008) Peggy’s Gardening Tools. Internet: Flickr.


Many thanks to Gravity Tank 
for making this Action Project possible!

Student Projects