Miller GT

市 K'NEX Soup Can Challenge Edition


Welcome to the newsletter of the Gifted and Talented classes of the Miller School! This newsletter will be published periodically throughout the year, and you will find information about all of the fantastic activities we do with our students. We will also post upcoming events and important dates at the bottom along with links to each of our web pages.


This edition will focus on the K'Nex Soup Can Challenge for our 4th grade GT students! As you read, you will be introduced to the challenge, see how our 4th grade engineers interpreted and tackled it, and get a look at their creations! Enjoy!

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K'NEX Soup Can Challenge...What is it?

The Objective:

Students were challenged to build a vehicle that will securely hold an 18-19oz can of soup and travel down a ramp without falling apart in any way. The car will be a design of their choosing. The design must be made so the can of soup can easily be put in and taken out of the car. Also, they had to keep track of the pieces used as they were required to provide a cost for their vehicle utilizing the cost per piece sheet provided.

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The Design Process

Student groups were first tasked with designing their vehicle. They were able to use programs such as Canva, Google Drawing, Tinker CAD, Paint3D, or good old paper and pencil to do this! While discussing designs, students looked at all of the available parts and discussed what they could use to reach their goal. Once done, they had to present the design to the "Chief Engineers" (Miss Hunt and Mrs. Pettit), explain their design, and seek all the necessary approvals to build their vehicle.

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The Build!

Once student designs were approved by Chief Engineers Miss Hunt and Mrs. Pettit, teams were permitted to gather supplies and start their build! Students quickly realized that their designs were conceptual and that their actual build could possibly take on a different look. One of the biggest challenges was issues with the supply chain! Designs incorporated specific parts, but sometimes student engineers were faced with having to substitute other parts to replace those that were unavailable. Real world learning in action!

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The Finished Product!

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Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3!

After completing their build, students had to conduct a series of tests on their car. The data gathered helped them to answer the question, "Does the vehicle travel farther across the floor at the bottom of the ramp with the soup can or without? Why?" After a few trials to get used to the ramps, they tested their car a minimum of three time without the can and then the same amount with the can, documenting their results for analysis. At times, cars ended up in "Pit Road" for adjustments or repairs so they could continue their testing! Once all data was gathered, they compiled an "Engineering Log" where they placed design information and photos, test data, and other relevant information. They also explained why they felt their vehicle performed the way it did, which of Newtons Laws were demonstrated in their project and how, as well as telling about what types of friction and energy were present in their experimentation.

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Presenting Data Through Our Engineering Log!

The next task in their project was as follows:


All design engineering teams MUST submit the following:


  1. A picture or video of your vehicle
  2. A data chart (provided)showing the material cost for your vehicle (#4 from the task sheet)
  3. A description of how you designed and built your vehicle
  4. THE DESIGN SKETCH (#2 from the task sheet)
  5. The test results (#5 & #6 from the task sheet)
  6. Why you feel the vehicle performed the way it did
  7. Be sure to include answers and evidence for the following:
  • Did it go further with or without the soup can? Why do you think you got these results
  • How are Newtons Laws demonstrated in your project and which laws?
  • What types of friction are present in your experimentation?
  • Be sure to discuss forces and energy too!


It was very cool to see how the students interpreted their data and figured out why they did or didn't find success with their design. It was also fun to see how each group designed their log, allowing their personalities to shine through! Check out some of the pages from their logs above and below!


Well done, everyone!

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Click the link below for our individual web pages. Contact information for each teacher is found on their sites.

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