Engineering in Reverse!
Students learn about the process of reverse engineering and how this technique is used to improve upon technology. In this activity, students analyze a push-toy and draw a diagram of the predicted mechanisms inside the toy. Then, they disassemble the toy and draw the actual inner mechanisms. By understanding how the push-toy functions, students make suggestions for improvement, such as cost effectiveness, improved functionality, ecological friendliness and any additional functionality they deter
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.
Energy Systems Activity
Posters are provided for several different energy conversion systems. The students are provided with cards that give the name and a description of each of the components in the energy system. They have to match these with the figures on the diagram. Since the groups look at different systems, they must also describe their results with the class to share their knowledge.
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.
You’re the Expert
Student teams learn about and devise technical presentations on four reproductive technology topics — pregnancy ultrasound, amniocentesis, in-vitro fertilization or labor anesthetics. Each team acts as a panel of engineers asked to make a presentation to a group of students unfamiliar with the reproductive technology. Each group incorporates non-lecture elements into its presentation for greater effectiveness. As students learn about the technologies, by creating a presentation and listening t
Sound Booth Construction
Students explore the sound dampening ability of numerous materials by designing and prototyping model sound booths. As a result, students learn about how sound is reflected, absorbed and travels through various materials, thus giving them an overview of sound dampening, energy absorption and sound propagation in the context of engineering. Students also create blueprints and document their findings in a formal lab report.
We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!
Students discuss several human reproductive technologies available today — pregnancy ultrasound, amniocentesis, in-vitro fertilization and labor anesthetics. They learn how each technology works, and that these are ways engineers have worked to improve the health of expecting mothers and babies.
DNA: The Human Body Recipe
As a class, students work through an example showing how DNA provides the “recipe” for making our body proteins. They see how the pattern of nucleotide bases (adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine) forms the double helix ladder shape of DNA, and serves as the code for the steps required to make genes. They also learn some ways that engineers and scientists are applying their understanding of DNA in our world.
My Mechanical Ear Can Hear!
Students are introduced to various types of hearing impairments and the types of biomedical devices that engineers have designed to aid people with this physical disability.
Protect Those Eyes
Students design and build prototypes for protective eyewear. They choose different activities or sports that require protective eyewear and design a device for that particular use. Students learn about the many ways in which the eyes can be damaged and how engineers incorporate different features and materials into eyewear designs to best protect the eyes.
Power Your House with Water
Students learn how engineers design devices that use water to generate electricity by building model water turbines and measuring the resulting current produced in a motor. Students work through the engineering design process to build the turbines, analyze the performance of their turbines and make calculations to determine the most suitable locations to build dams.
Exploring Light: Absorb, Reflect, Transmit or Refract?
In a hands-on way, students explore light’s properties of absorption, reflection, transmission and refraction through various experimental stations within the classroom. To understand absorption, reflection and transmission, they shine flashlights on a number of preselected objects. To understand refraction, students create indoor rainbows. An understanding of the fundamental properties of light is essential to designing an invisible laser security system.
Laser Light Properties: Protecting the Mummified Troll!
Students learn and use the properties of light to solve the following challenge: “A mummified troll was discovered this summer at our school and it has generated lots of interest worldwide. The principal asked us, the technology classes, to design a security system that alerts the police if someone tries to pilfer our prized possession. How can we construct a system that allows visitors to view our artifact during the day, but invisibly protects it at night in a cost-effective way?”
Learning Light’s Properties
Students learn the basic properties of light — the concepts of light absorption, transmission, reflection and refraction, as well as the behavior of light during interference. Lecture information briefly addresses the electromagnetic spectrum and then provides more in-depth information on visible light. With this knowledge, students better understand lasers and are better prepared to design a security system for the mummified troll.
Both Fields at Once?!
This lesson discusses the result of a charge being subject to both electric and magnetic fields at the same time. It covers the Hall effect, velocity selector, and the charge to mass ratio. Given several sample problems, students learn to calculate the Hall Voltage dependent upon the width of the plate, the drift velocity, and the strength of the magnetic field. Then students learn to calculate the velocity selector, represented by the ratio of the magnitude of the fields assuming the strength o
Induced EMF in a coil of wire
Students use a simple set up consisting of a coil of wire and a magnet to visualize induced EMF. First, students move a coil of wire near a magnet and observe the voltage that results. They then experiment with moving the wire, magnet, and a second, current carrying coil. Students connect the coil to a circuit and the current from the induced EMF charges a conductor.
The lesson begins with a demonstration introducing students to the force between two current carrying loops, comparing the attraction and repulsion between the loops to that between two magnets. After formal lecture on Ampere’s law, students begin to use the concepts to calculate the magnetic field around a loop. This is applied to determine the magnetic field of a toroid, imagining a toroid as a looped solenoid.
This lesson begins with an activity in which students induce EMF in a coil of wire using magnetic fields. Then, demonstrations on Eddy currents show how a magnetic field can slow magnets just as Eddy currents are used to slow large trains. There is then a demonstration in which a loop “jumps” because of a changing magnetic field. Finally, formal lecture reviews the cross product with respect to magnetic force and introduces magnetic flux, Faraday’s law of Induction, Lenz’s Law, Eddy curr
Muscles, Oh My!
Students are introduced to how engineering closely relates to the field of biomechanics and how the muscular system produces human movement. They learn the importance of the muscular system in our daily lives, why it is important to be able to repair muscular injuries and how engineering helps us by creating things to benefit our muscular health, movement and repair.
Cutting Through Soil
Students pretend they are agricultural engineers during the colonial period and design a miniature plow that cuts through a “field” of soil. They are introduced to the engineering design process and learn of several famous historical figures who contributed to plow design.