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Engineering Towers | Elementary School Educator Curriculum

The Engineering Design Process

Interact with each part of the engineering design process.

Take students through a journey of the engineering design process as they prepare their tower design from the perspective of a scientist and engineer.

OBJECTIVE: Learners will interact with the engineering design process.


  1. Practice with the engineering cycle by designing a water bottle.
  2. Go through each step in the cycle using the handouts as a guide to design a functioning waterbottle.
  3. Engineering is a process of iterations, so make sure to make modifications to the water bottle as they arise and document them in your handout/engineering log.
  4. Reflect on the engineering process and the importance of iteration by identifying something that you envisioned but did not work as you intended it to work.


  • What was something that you imagined in your design that didn’t quite work the way you envisioned it?
  • What did you learn about the materials that you worked with?
  • What are the problems?
  • What are the constraints?

Engineering Log

As engineers work on projects they make lots of changes, so when there is a failure (or improvement), it may be difficult to determine the cause. There are so many possibilities, that without a log, it could take along time to run all the tests to identity the cause. Therefor logs should describe everything done, be organized with a date and time, and be in chronological order.

Engineering Log Criteria

    • Date
    • Time
    • Logs in chronological order
    • Records of every change and action
    • Notes of ongoing observations
    • Documents of adjustments to techniques and methods
    • Provide a space for questions and speculations
    • Include drawings, numbers and words

Water Bottle Challenge (downloadable pdf below)

First Design




Did it work?

Second Design




Did it work?

Third Design




Did it work?

Fourth Design




Did it work?



What was something that you imagined in your design that didn’t quite work the way you envisioned it?

What I imagined . . .





What actually happened . . .






What did you learn about the materials you worked with?