Design a Net-Zero Energy Classroom
Students create a concept design of their very own net-zero energy classroom by pasting renewable energy and energy-efficiency items into and around a pretend classroom on a sheet of paper. They learn how these items (such as solar panels, efficient lights, computers, energy meters, etc.) interact to create a learning environment that produces as much energy as it uses.
Probability, Permutations and Combinations
Students learn about probability by exploring relationships in a deck of cards. They start with basic concepts in probability and move on to permutations and combinations. Students apply their understanding of probability by pretending to be software engineers who are designing the scoring system for a card game.
How Good Is Your Hearing?
Students learn about the frequency range of human hearing by collecting data from a website simulation. They analyze the data to determine the typical range for students in their classroom. Students participate in a collaborative effort to gather scientific data on humans for use in designing an engineering product.
Serial Dilution of a Fluorescent Compound
Students explore serial dilution, an important technique in physical science and engineering. They use a fluorescent compound as the dye to track through a series of dilution steps. They observe how the changing color intensity, or saturation, of each subsequent solution. They also keep a running calculation of the concentration dye in each serial dilution. Finally, using a UV lamp, they investigate whether the fluorescent dye can be detected after it disappears from view under normal lighting c
Engineering Your Own Spectrograph
Students use simple materials to design an open spectrograph so they can calculate the angle light is bent when it passes through a holographic diffraction grating. A holographic diffraction grating acts like a prism, showing the visual components of light. After finding the desired angles, students use what they have learned to design their own spectrograph enclosure.
Student are introduced to rivers, and to the components of the water cycle. They think about the effects of communities, sidewalks and roads on the natural flow of rainwater. Students also learn about the role of engineering in community planning and protecting our natural resources.
The Cloning of Cells
Students continue their education on cells in the human body. They discuss stem cells and how engineers are involved in the research of stem cell behavior. They learn about possible applications of stem cell research and associated technologies, such as fluorescent dyes for tracking the replication of specific cells.
Through five lessons, students are introduced to all facets of the rock cycle. Topics include rock and mineral types, material stresses and weathering, geologic time and fossil formation, the Earth’s crust and tectonic plates, and soil formation and composition. Lessons are in the context of the related impact on humans in the form of roadway and tunnel design and construction, natural disasters, environmental site assessment for building structures, and measurement instrumentation and tools.
Students look at the components of cells and their functions. The lesson focuses on the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Each part of the cell performs a specific function that is vital for the cell’s survival. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are very important to engineering. Engineers can use bacteria to break down toxic materials in a process called bioremediation, and they can also kill or disable harmful bacteria through disinfection.
Sound Environment Shapers
Students are introduced to the sound environment as an important aspect of a room or building. Several examples of acoustical engineering design for varied environments are presented. Students learn the connections between the science of sound waves and engineering design for sound environments.
Spacecraft Design: Beat the Heat
To understand the challenges of satellite construction, student teams design and create model spacecraft to protect vital components from the harsh conditions found on Mercury and Venus. They use slices of butter in plastic eggs to represent the internal data collection components of the spacecraft. To discover the strengths and weaknesses of their designs, they test their unique thermal protection systems in a planet simulation test box that provides higher temperature and pressure conditions.
A Good Foundation
Students explore the effects of regional geology on bridge foundation, including the variety of soil conditions found beneath foundations. They learn about shallow and deep foundations, as well as the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement.
Building a Barometer
Students investigate the weather from a systems approach, learning how individual parts of a system work together to create a final product. Students learn how a barometer works to measure the Earth’s air pressure by building a model using simple materials. Students analyze the changes in barometer measurements over time and compare those to actual weather conditions. They learn how to use a barometer to understand air pressure and predict actual weather changes.
Students investigate how different riparian ground covers, such as grass or pavement, affect river flooding. They learn about permeable and impermeable materials through the measurement how much water is absorbed by several different household materials in a model river. Students use what they learn to make recommendations for engineers developing permeable pavement. Also, they consider several different limitations for design in the context of a small community.
In this lesson, students will extend their knowledge of matter and energy cycles in an organism to engineering life cycle assessment of a product. Students will learn about product life cycle assessment and the flow of energy through the cycle, comparing it to the flow of nutrients and energy in the life cycle of an organism.
Problem Solve Your School
Students apply what they have learned about the engineering design process to a real-life problem that affects them and/or their school. They chose a problem as a group, and then follow the engineering design process to come up with and test their design solution. This activity teaches students how to use the engineering design process while improving something in the school environment that matters to them. By performing each step of the design process, students can experience what it is like t
Modern Day Pyramids
Students investigate the ways in which ancient technologies — six types of simple machines and combinations — are used to construct modern buildings. As they work together to solve a design problem (designing and building a modern structure), they brainstorm ideas, decide on a design, and submit it to a design review before acquiring materials to create it (in this case, a mural depicting it). Emphasis is placed on cooperative, creative teamwork and the steps of the engineering design proces
Watch It Slide!
Students use inclined planes as they recreate the difficult task of raising a monolith of rock to build a pyramid. They compare the push and pull of different-sized blocks up an inclined plane, determine the angle of inclination, and learn the changes that happen when the angle is increased or decreased.
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
Skyscrapers: Engineering Up!
Skyscrapers are one of the most glorified products of Civil Engineering and contain an interesting history of progress and development. In this lesson, the students will learn about the history of the world’s tallest free standing structures and the basic design principles behind their success. Students will build their own newspaper skyscrapers with limited materials and time, trying to achieve a maximum height and the ability to withstand a “hurricane wind” force. Discussion will concent