Passive Solar Design
Students are introduced to passive solar design for buildings — an approach that uses the sun’s energy and the surrounding climate to provide natural heating and cooling. They learn about some of the disadvantage of conventional heating and cooling and how engineers incorporate passive solar designs into our buildings for improved efficiency.
Through eight lessons, students are introduced to many facets of dams, including their basic components, the common types (all designed to resist strong forces), their primary benefits (electricity generation, water supply, flood control, irrigation, recreation), and their importance (historically, currently and globally). Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how dams generate electricity. They learn about the structure, function and purpose of loc
Imagine Life without Friction
Students are introduced to the concept of inertia and its application to a world without the force of friction acting on moving objects. When an object is in motion, friction tends to be the force that acts on this object to slow it down and eventually come to a stop. By severely limiting friction through the use of the hover pucks, students learn that the energy of one moving puck is transferred directly to another puck at rest when they collide. Students learn the concept of the conservation o
In this activity, students work with partners to create four different instruments to investigate the frequency of the sounds they make. Students may chose to make a shoebox guitar, water glass xylophone, straw panpipe or a soda bottle organ (or all four!).
The Fundamental Building Blocks of Matter
This lesson plan explores the fundamentals of atoms and their structure. The building blocks of matter (protons, electrons, neutrons) are covered in detail. Students think about how atoms and molecules can influence new technologies developed by engineers.
Students learn about the Earth’s only natural satellite, the Moon. They discuss the Moon’s surface features and human exploration. They also learn about how engineers develop technologies to study and explore the Moon, which also helps us learn more about the Earth.
Rolling Blackouts & Environmental Impact – What are our Electricity Options?
The goal is for the students to understand the environmental design considerations required when generating electricity. The electric power that we use every day at home and work is generated by a variety of power plants. Power plants are engineered to utilize the conversion of one form of energy to another. The main components of a power plant are an input source of energy that is used to turn large turbines, and a method to convert the turbine rotation into electricity. The input sources of en
Students are introduced to our Sun as they explore its composition, what is happening inside it, its relationship to our planet (our energy source), and the ways engineers help us learn about it.
The Strongest Pump of All
In this lesson the students will learn how the heart functions. Students will be introduced to the concept of action potential generation. The lesson will explain how action potential generation causes the electrical current that causes muscle contraction in the heart. Students will be introduced to the basic electrical signal generated by the heart; P, QRS, and T waves. The lesson will approach the heart from an engineering standpoint and encourage students to design ways to improve heart funct
Just Plane Simple
This lesson introduces students to three of the six simple machines used by many engineers. These machines include the inclined plane, the wedge and the screw. In general, engineers use the inclined plane to lift heavy loads, the wedge to cut materials apart, and the screw to convert rotational motion into linear movement. Furthermore, the mechanical advantage describes how easily each machine can do work and is determined by its physical dimensions.
Energy Sources Research
Fact sheets are provided for several different energy resources as a starting point for students to conduct literature research on the way these systems work and their various pros and cons. Students complete a worksheet for homework or take more time in class for research and presentation of their findings to the class. This approach requires students to learn for themselves and to teach each other – rather than having a teacher lecture about the various sources and systems.
Clean It Up!
Students learn about a special branch of engineering called bioremediation, which is the use of living organisms to aid in the clean-up of pollutant spills. Students learn all about bioremediation and see examples of its importance. In the associated activity, students conduct an experiment and see bioremediation in action!
This lesson introduces students to the idea of biomimicry — or looking to nature for engineering ideas. Biomimicry involves solving human problems by mimicking natural solutions, and it works well because the solutions exist naturally. There are numerous examples of useful applications of biomimicry, and in this lesson we look at a few fun examples.
Light vs. Heat Bulbs
Students measure the light output and temperature (as a measure of heat output) for three types of light bulbs to identify why some light bulbs are more efficient (more light with less energy) than others.
Bridge Types: Tensile & Compressive Forces
Students explore how tension and compression forces act on three different bridge types. Using sponges, cardboard and string, they create models of beam, arch and suspension bridges and apply forces to understand how they disperse or transfer these loads.
Students learn about the many types of expenses associated with building a bridge. Working like engineers, they estimate the cost for materials for a bridge member of varying sizes. After making calculations, they graph their results to compare how costs change depending on the use of different materials (steel vs. concrete). They conclude by creating a proposal for a city bridge design based on their findings.
Marine animal tracking
The following lesson is an introduction to the ideas and implications of animal tracking. Animal tracking is a useful method used within science and commercial industries. For instance, when planning the development coastal areas, animal presence and movement should be taken into consideration. The lesson engages students in an activity to monitor animal foraging behavior on a spatial scale. The students will break into groups and track each other’s movements as they move through a pre-determi
Turning the Air Upside Down
Students develop their understanding of air convection currents and temperature inversions by constructing and observing simple models.
How Tall Are We?
Kindergartners measure each other's height using large building blocks, then visit a 2nd and a 4th grade class to measure those students. They can also measure adults in the school community. Results are displayed in age-appropriate bar graphs (paper cut-outs of miniature building blocks glued on paper to form a bar graph) comparing the different age groups. The activities that comprise this lesson help students develop the concepts and vocabulary to describe, in a non-ambiguous way, how height
Project Newsletter No 1
Progress report showing the profile of learners participating in the project and some of the information we are gathering.,16,19