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.
Slide Right on By Using an Inclined Plane
Students explore building a pyramid, learning about the simple machine called an inclined plane. They also learn about another simple machine, the screw, and how it is used as a lifting or fastening device. During a hands-on activity, students see how the angle of inclination and pull force can make it easier (or harder) to pull an object up an inclined plane.
Riding the Radio Waves
Through this lesson students learn how AM radios work through basic concepts about waves and magnetic fields. Waves are first introduced by establishing the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves, as well as identifying the amplitude and frequency of a given waveform. Students then learn general concepts about magnetic fields, leading into how radio waves are created and transmitted. Several demonstrations can be performed in order to help students better understand these concepts.
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
This activity is a teacher-led demonstration of continental drift and includes a math worksheet for students involving the calculation of continental drift over time. Students will understand what continental drift is, why it occurs, and how earthquakes occur because of it.
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.
Earthquake in the Classroom
Students will learn how engineers construct buildings to withstand damage from earthquakes by building their own structure with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students will test how earthquake-proof their buildings are by testing them on an earthquake simulated in a pan of Jell-O®.
Win that Bid! Selling Your Power Solution
A large part of engineering involves presenting products, concepts, and proposals to others in order to gain approval, funding, contracts, etc. The purpose of this activity is to fine-tune students’ presentation skills while allowing them to independently investigate one type of power production to meet the needs of their region of choice. Students also learn problem solving skills in examining the advantages and disadvantages of particular methods of power generation.
Simple Machines and Modern Day Engineering Analogies
Students apply the mechanical advantages and problem-solving capabilities of six types of simple machines (wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, pulley) as they discuss modern structures in the spirit of the engineers and builders of the great pyramids. While learning the steps of the engineering design process, students practice teamwork, creativity and problem solving.
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
Testing Fundamental Loads
Students will conduct several simple lab activities to learn about the five fundamental load types that can act on structures: tension, compression, shear, bending, and torsion. In this activity, students break foam insulation blocks by applying these five fundamental load types (tension, compression, shear, bending and torsion). Students will study carefully each type of fracture pattern (break in the material) and make drawings of the fracture patterns in their notes in order to learn the tell
Does Weight Matter?
Using the same method for measuring friction that was used in the previous lesson (Discovering Friction), students design and conduct an experiment to determine if weight added incrementally to an object affects the amount of friction encountered when it slides across a flat surface. After graphing the data from their experiments, students can calculate the coefficients of friction between the object and the surface it moved upon, for both static and kinetic friction.