A New Angle on PV Efficiency
Students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel relative to the sun affects the efficiency of the panel. Using sunshine (or a lamp) and a small PV panel connected to a digital multimeter, students vary the angle of the solar panel, record the resulting current output on a worksheet, and plot their experimental results.
In and Out Reactor
Students learn about material balances, a fundamental concept of chemical engineering. They use stoichiometry to predict the mass of carbon dioxide that escapes after reacting measured quantities of sodium bicarbonate with dilute acetic acid. Students then react the chemicals in a small reactor made from a plastic water bottle and balloon.
Bone Density Challenge Introduction
Students are introduced to the challenge question, which revolves around proving that a cabinet X-ray system can produce bone mineral density images. Students work independently to generate ideas from the questions provided then share with partners and then with the class as part of Multiple Perspectives. As part of the associated Activity 1, students then explore multiple websites to gather information about Bone Mineral Density and answer questions on a worksheet, then later take a quiz on the
The Grand Challenge: Simulating Human Vision
This lesson introduces the Robotics Peripheral Vision Grand Challenge question. Students are asked to write journal responses to the question and brainstorm what information they will need to answer the question. The ideas are shared with the class and recorded. Students then share their ideas with each other and brainstorm any additional ideas. Next students draw a basis for the average peripheral vision of a human being and then compare that range to the range of two different focal lengths in
Robotics Peripheral Vision
This unit was written with an advanced programming class in mind. It leads students through a study of human vision and computer programming simulation. Students will take their previous knowledge of arrays and looping structures and implement the new concept of linked lists and RGB decomposition in order to solve the Grand Challenge: writing a program to simulate peripheral vision by merging two images.
Students build a saltwater circuit, which is an electrical circuit that uses saltwater as part of the circuit. Students investigate the conductivity of saltwater, and develop an understanding of how the amount of salt in a solution impacts how much electrical current flows through the circuit. They learn about one real-world application of a saltwater circuit — as a desalination plant tool to test for the removal of salt from ocean water.
Through a series of four lessons, students are introduced to many factors that affect the power output of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Factors such as the angle of the sun, temperature of the panels, specific circuit characteristics, and reflected radiation determine the efficiency of solar panels. These four lessons are paired with hands-on activities in which students design, build and test small photovoltaic systems. Students collect their own data, and examine different variables to deter
Can You Resist This?
This lab demonstrates Ohm’s Law by allowing the students to set up a simple circuit composed of a battery, lamp, and resistor. They are able to calculate the current following through the circuit they create mathematically, by solving the linear equation. After solving for the current, I, for each set resistance value, the students will plot the three points on a Cartesian plane and note the line that is formed. They also see the direct correlation between the amount of current flowing through
A Shot Under Pressure
Students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to find the water pressure in water guns. By measuring the range of the water jets, they are able to calculate the theoretical pressure. Students create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.
How Far Does a Lava Flow Go?
While learning about volcanoes, magma and lava flows, students learn about the properties of liquid movement, coming to understand viscosity and other factors that increase and decrease liquid flow. They also learn about lava composition and its risk to human settlements.
Students learn about Pascal’s law, an important concept behind the engineering of dam and lock systems, such as the one that Thirsty County wants Splash Engineering to design for the Birdseye River (an ongoing hypothetical engineering scenario). Students observe the behavior of water in plastic water bottles spilling through holes punctured at different heights, seeing the distance water spurts from the holes, learning how water at a given depth exerts equal pressure in all directions, and how
The students discover the basics of heat transfer in this activity by constructing a constant pressure calorimeter to determine the heat of solution of potassium chloride in water. They first predict the amount of heat consumed by the reaction using analytical techniques. Then they calculate the specific heat of water using tabulated data, and use this information to predict the temperature change. Next, the students will design and build a calorimeter and then determine its specific heat. After
Snow vs. Water
Engineers work in many fields associated with precipitation. Engineers study glaciers to better understand their dates of formation and current demise. They deal with issues of pollution transport and water yield, and they monitor reservoirs and dams to prevent flooding.
Ramp and Review (for High Scool)
In this hands-on activity — rolling a ball down an incline and having it collide into a cup — the concepts of mechanical energy, work and power, momentum, and friction are all demonstrated. During the activity, students take measurements and use equations that describe these energy of motion concepts to calculate unknown variables and review the relationships between these concepts.
Simon Says Big Amplitude, Small Wavelength!
In this activity, students play the game Simon Says to make the amplitudes and wavelengths defined by the teacher. First they play alone, and then they play with a partner using a piece of rope.
Plant Cycles: Photosynthesis & Transpiration
What do plants need? Students examine the effects of light and air on green plants, learning the processes of photosynthesis and transpiration. Student teams plant seeds, placing some in sunlight and others in darkness. They make predictions about the outcomes and record ongoing observations of the condition of the stems, leaves and roots. Then, several healthy plants are placed in glass jars with lids overnight. Condensation forms, illustrating the process of transpiration, or the release of mo
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.
Students become familiar with the Engineering Design Process as they design and build prototypes for a chair. The miniature chair must be sturdy and functional enough to hold a wooden, hinged artist model or floppy stuffed animal.
Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn and Titan
Students use authentic spectral data from the Cassini mission of Saturn and Saturn’s moon, Titan, gathered by instrumentation developed by engineers. Taking these unknown data, and comparing it with known data, students determine the chemical composition of Saturn’s rings and Titan’s atmosphere.