Lesson Plan Industry Sector

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Thomas Dougherty

Ingredients to Internal Combustion (updated) by Thomas Dougherty

Part of Unit: Engine Fundamentals

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the four stroke cycle and the ingredients to internal combustion.  Students will identify events taking place within the cycle using a projected animation and actual cutaway engines.

Lesson Time

One Class Period
58 Minutes


Objectives and Goals

  • Students will be able to identify four events in four stroke cycle.
  • Students will be able to identify ingredients to internal combustion.
  • Students will be able to assemble in small groups.
  • Students will be able to use animations and cutaway engines, students will demonstrate knowledge of event timing at various points in the cycle.

Activities in this Lesson

  • An animation of a running engine will be projected on the screen at the front of the room along with the question, "How Does It Work?"

    There will be a handout depicting the four strokes of the four stroke cycle at each seat and a cutaway single cylinder engine on each of the six tables in the room.  Students are in groups of four at each table.  As my computers, projection screen and white board are all on different walls, I am constantly moving about the room, even when I am lecturing. 

    There are foam boards on the fourth wall with the students names color coordinated to their groups.  As students demonstrate proficiency at a task they are given a sticker to place next to their name.  This promotes a healthy competition and provides grading at a glance.  Using a wireless remote (or by asking me), students will be able to speed up, slow down or stop the animation at any point in the cycle.

    Resources and Materials

  • While the animation is running , I will explain the necessary ingredients to internal combustion:

    Fuel, Ignition and Compression.

    If the engine has these three ingredients at the proper time it will run. If an engine does not run, it is missing one of the ingredients.  Students will learn that fuel is introduced on the intake stroke, compression takes place on the compression stroke and ignition takes place at the top of the compression stroke.  The animation illustrates the fuel/air charge in blue and combustion and exhaust in red.  Students will be able to correlate these illustrations to invisible events on the actual engine by observing and comparing the positions of the piston and valves. 

  • Students will be able to slow and stop the animation and identify different events and event timing.  Working in small groups, students will be able to rotate the single cylinder cutaway engines by hand and compare them to the animation and illustration. I will then rotate the cutaway engines to various points in the cycle and ask students to determine which event is taking place by the position of engine components.  Students will be able to view the entire cycle and determine how linear motion (piston movement) is converted to rotational motion (crankshaft movement).  They will be able to view and discuss valves opening for intake and exhaust events and closing for compression and combustion events. This will segue into future lessons on the individual ingredients. 

  • To encourage individual critical thinking, I leave them with a question.  This is written on the white board prior to the end of class.   At the beginning of the next session we will discuss the answers and how they were obtained.  This element is not graded, but encourages friendly competition and is fun. 

    Today's question is: If your 6 cylinder engine turns at 1500 RPM at 60 MPH, how many combustion events take place in one mile?  (60 MPH = 1 mile per minute.  1 minute X 1500 revolutions X 6 cylinders = 9000 revolutions. As a complete cycle is 2 revolutions, 4500 combustion events take place).


Assessment Types:
Demonstrations, Observations,

Using projected animations and cutaway engines, students will demonstrate understanding of engine fundamentals and four stroke cycle by determining where an engine is in it's cycle and what event should be taking place.  Engines will be rotated by hand and students will explain what is taking place.  Students will work in small groups and demonstrate comprehension by explaining the sequence of events.  Students demonstrating proficiency will receive a sticker to place on the grading chart on the classroom wall.