A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Engineering Lesson: Designing Your Own Travel Bag
Teacher's Guide for the Engineering Lesson


As you read the Project Story, can you think of what kind of travel bag you would need to hold and protect your laptop computer, cellular phone, and other essential items for your travel and still be light enough to carry? If you could design your bag to meet the needs of this trip, what kind of bag would you have? Does it have to be water resistant? In this lesson, you will use the engineering design process to generate research questions, brainstorm ideas, design, build, and test a prototype of your travel bag.


Day 1 Brainstorming Ideas and Making a Design

  1. Take the handout provided by your teacher and work with a partner or a group as instructed by your teacher.
  2. In your group, answer the following questions to identify and define the problem:
    1. How long do you think you might be away on your adventure? (Note: You can use the data in Lesson 4 to answer this question.)
    2. What materials do you usually bring on a regular trip (e.g. over a 3-day long weekend)?
    3. What essential materials will you bring for this trip?
    4. How much weight can you carry? Using a weighing scale, measure the following:
      1. What is the weight of your bag?
      2. How much weight can you carry without putting too much stress in your arms and body for at least 30 minutes?
      3. Do you have to remove or add items in your bag?
      4. What materials did you remove or add? Explain
    5. How would you carry the bag? Try, test and give your rating on the ease of carrying the bag in the following manner: (5- very easy and 1- very difficult)
      1. Bag resting on your two arms in front of you                 5        4        3         2        1    (circle one)
      2. Bag with a strap hanging in one of your shoulders       5        4        3         2        1    (circle one)
      3. Bag with two straps as a backpack                               5        4        3         2        1    (circle one)
      4. Any other ideas?
    6. What size of bag will you need? Get different kinds of bags with different sizes and put all the materials (laptop, cell phone, essential materials, etc) inside the bag. Once you placed all the materials you intend to bring inside the bag, using a meter stick, measure the following:
      1. Length
      2. Width
      3. Height
  3. Create at least two research questions regarding the features of your bag. Make sure that your research questions can be answered within the time frame and resources available to you. Have your teacher approve your research questions before starting your work. Examples: What water resistant materials are used in making bags? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  4. Based on the identified requirements and research efforts, brainstorm different ideas for your travel bag. Draw/Sketch several possible designs and solutions.
  5. Choose one design and write your rationale/explanation for choosing this particular design.
  6. List the materials that you will need to make a prototype of your travel bag.
  7. Divide the materials among the members of the group. Your homework is to collect and bring the materials assigned to you.

Day 2 Building and Testing Your Prototype Bag

  1. Build your prototype bag based on your design and sketch.
  2. Test your bag based on your identified needs:
    1. Does it fit all of the items it needs to?
    2. Walk around the room with the bag to test if the bag can hold the materials you identified, and;
    3. Use a water spray bottle to test if the bag is water resistant.
  3. Evaluate and list what design problems occurred during testing.
  4. Suggest several ways to improve the design of your bag.
  5. What aspects of this prototype travel bag would you change if it were to be commercially manufactured?
  6. Display your final product as instructed by your teacher.