Design a Maglev Train

Magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains are one of the fastest and most energy-efficient forms of travel today. Using the Engineering Design Process, explore this technology by designing and testing a frictionless train model.

Essential Standards:

4.P.1.1, 4.P.1.2, 5.P.1.1, 7.P.1.2

Major Concepts to be explored:

  • What is the Engineering Design Process?
  • What are fossil fuels and what are some alternatives?
  • What prevents trains, planes, cars, etc. from traveling faster?
  • How can magnetic fields allow a train to move more quickly?

21st Century Skills:

Learners will:

  • Communicate by sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions
  • Collaborate by working together to reach a goal – putting talent, expertise, and smarts to work
  • Think critically by looking at problems in a new way and linking learning across subjects and disciplines
  • Create, innovate, and invent by trying new approaches when presented with a challenge

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • 3-ESS3-1

NGSS Engineering Practices:

  • 3-PS2-3 , 3-PS2.B

Goals of the Program/Class:

  1. To introduce students to the Engineering Design Process.
  2. To allow students to gain an understanding of the limitations of rapid transit.
  3. To allow students to understand why the reduction of fossil fuel use is beneficial.
  4. To allow students to experiment with magnetic fields to reduce/remove friction.

Behavioral Objectives:

  • Work with group to design and test a prototype.
  • Improve design throughout program.
  • Identify the components of an effective maglev train.

Methods and Activities:

  • A brief introduction will familiarize students with fossil fuels and the limitations of current forms of mass transit.
  • Students will be introduced to the Engineering Design Process.
  • Students will experiment with magnetic fields.
  • Students will design a frictionless train model.
  • Students will share their observations and use evidence-based reasoning to support their conclusions.

Key Vocabulary:

Fossil Fuel, Attractive Force, Repelling Force, Magnetic Force, Friction

Call to Book

704.372.6261 x300
  • Grades 3 - 8
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • $150 first class / $125 each additional class (same class, same day)
  • Maximum 25 students