Student Work | Mass STEM Hub

Middle School | Gateway DM | Activity: Puzzle Cube | Top Design & Modeling Project

Check out the student work submitted for real-world industry feedback! Learn more about submitting student work to receive real-world feedback here!

Grade: Middle School

PLTW Course: Design and Modeling

Submission type:  Activity: Puzzle Cube

Project overview: The Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Design and Modeling course provides students the opportunities to develop solutions for real world problems. Students are introduced to the engineering design process as well as the design matrix to solve problems and make real word connections. This lesson will employ methods of communication, sketches, and model prototypes demonstrating peer collaboration skills and techniques needed for the course curriculum.

In this project students will use various types of modeling learned throughout the Design and Modeling unit and follow the engineering design process to work on a puzzle cube design challenge. Students will transfer a two dimensional sketch to a three dimensional solid model with the use of TinkerCAD. Students will then work in teams to and apply the design process to create and fabricate a puzzle cube (differently-shaped pieces of wood that fit together in a cube). Students will document their design process and use a math program to complete statistical analysis from their testing results to determine if their design met the criterial and constraints. Finally students will reflect upon their results after evaluating all possible solutions for improvements.

Select student submission materials: 

Link to full project: click here.

Select judge feedback: “Hey! I am a Design Quality Engineer at Medtronic. In my role my daily tasks generally revolve around identifying potential risks and failures for any surgical robot design changes being made and implementing control measures that would prevent those failure from occurring in the field (during surgery).

I loved seeing the game that you came up with! You did a great job of outlining the design process. I loved how you included each design drawing separately and also a 3D view of the cube. We do the same kind of thing in industry – with each drawing we make our product we also include the CAD drawings as well. We also have component drawings and assembly drawings as well.

I also loved to see that you had a quality control slide! I think this aspect is easy to forget during product development, but quality is one of the most important aspects of the process. I would encourage you to be more specific with the quality control test and consider being more detailed with the parameter of the test. How far from the ground should be cube be? How much throwing force is being exerted? It wasn’t clear to me if the same person was performing the test and what controls you have in place to ensure each cube is being tested the same way.

Overall you did a wonderful job with this challenge! All of the steps followed for this project are very similar to the steps we follow for product development in industry and it is clear that you have a strong understanding of this process – keep up the great work!”

-Design Quality Engineer, Medtronic

“Hello! I work for Smith & Nephew, where I develop medical devices to treat injuries related to joints (shoulder, knee, and hip mainly), focusing on sports injuries.

I thought your project was very good, and very detailed with the design. You did a great job with the designing and engineering of the final product, as well as coming up with a good way that it would be manufactured.

One thing I would suggest is putting more explanation into what you are trying to solve, what your project goal is, and how you are going to test that your product completes that goal.

Overall I think your project was great! I hope you pursue an education in STEM and continue the great work!”

-Product Development Engineer, Smith & Nephew

Industry Award: Top Design & Modeling Project

School: Silver Lake Regional Middle School

Teacher: Erik Todd

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