A “monorail” design of a train track, with a level train that travels over the top. Weights on the bottom keep the train level, while magnets on the bottom of the train and on the top of the track repel each other and cause the train to float. The spacing on the train was made more sturdy, and adjusted to reduce the friction between the train and the track. A separate robot travels alongside the track and causes the train to move, with an attached throttle that allows students to control speed and direction of the car and train. The car uses stronger magnets that better propel the train along the track, and making overall movement of the train smoother.
Testing went fantastically. Technically, we fixed all of the pressing issues from the first testing. There was much less friction between the train and the track, and control of the car allowed better interaction between the students and the train. We could tell that the better design of the train allowed students to have more fun.
From a developmental domain perspective, students were able to go from not really understanding how magnets worked, to being able to describe the operation of a MagLev train without any real prompting from us. This product has proven to be an effective aide in teaching magnetic forces to 1st - 2nd grade students.