Unit Overview

Students engineer dog door systems for an animal shelter that can open or stay closed using magnetic forces. 

  • Grade 3
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Magnetic forces, balanced and unbalanced forces
  • 9 lessons
  • 45 minutes per lesson

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each YES unit with careful attention to NGSS standards. YES units are also designed to integrate with the most popular elementary and middle school curricula. View Standards Alignment

Unit Map

Students are introduced to engineering by designing a model bench for people waiting at a bus stop. They learn about the Engineering Design Process as they reflect on how they solved the problem.
Students begin reading a comic about an animal shelter that needs doors for its dog kennels. They identify the forces that act on a door system.

Students play a relay game to learn about the magnetic force and which objects are attracted to magnets.

Students measure the force of attraction between a magnet and different materials.

Students measure the force of repulsion between different shapes and numbers of magnets.
Students independently imagine ideas for their dog door systems. They work with a partner to plan one dog door system.
Students create their dog door systems and test how well their designs meet the criteria and constraints.
Students identify aspects of their dog door systems to improve. They make adjustments and test their improved designs.
Students present their designs to their peers and reflect on their mechanical engineering work.

Teacher Preparation Videos

Model Dog Door

Magnet Relay

Attraction Testing

Repulsion Testing

Model Dog

Videos for Students

Attraction Testing Procedure

Repulsion Testing Procedure

Test Dog Door

Magnet icon

What’s Included?

  • Teacher Guide (PDF)
  • Teacher Slides (Google Slides)
  • Student Engineering Notebook (PDF)
  • Illustrated Story (Google Slides or PDF)
  • Print Materials (PDF)