Dirty Decomposers
Students design and conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots will have decomposed completely.
Author(s): Engineering K-Ph.D. Program,

With the help of simple, teacher-led demonstration activities, students learn the basic concepts of heat transfer by means of conduction, convection, and radiation. Students then apply these concepts as they work in teams to solve two problems. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately body temperature, and the other problem is to cause an identical soda can of warm water to cool as much as possible during the same thirty-minu
Author(s): Engineering K-Ph.D. Program,

Energetic Musical Instruments
Students will learn to apply the principles and concepts associated with energy and the transfer of energy in an engineering context through the designing and making of a musical instrument. The students must choose from a variety of supplies presented to them to make an instrument capable of producing three different tones. After the accomplishment of the design, students must explain the energy transfer mechanism in sufficient detail and describe how they could make their instruments better.
Author(s): Engineering K-Ph.D. Program,

How Big?
The objective of Lesson 2, Activity 1 is for student teams to determine the size of the caverns. Lesson two has student teams measure their classroom to determine area and volume; determine how many people could comfortably sleep in their classroom; scale this number up to find the required area for all Alabraskans. The lesson provides a good application of area and volume concepts. Students also perform math conversions between feet, meters, miles and kilometers.

Lost in the Amazon
The Lost in the Amazon curricular unit is a series of minds-on and hands-on engineering activities based in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Motivated by an adventurous theme, students discover, learn and apply the following: 1) Classification of Plants and Insects; 2) General Categorizing Skills; 3) Process Skills: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking; 4) Scientific Testing and Experimentation; 5) Properties of Materials The investigative, exploratory and problem solving nature of Lost in the

Possible Locations
Students will use their knowledge of scales and areas to cut out rectangular paper pieces to represent caverns to scale with the maps. These paper cutouts can then be placed on the maps to help students decide where the best locations.

Rocks, Rocks, Rocks
Student teams will test rocks to identify and record rock properties such as luster, hardness, color, etc., and classify rocks as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. They will complete a worksheet table with all of their rock properties, and then answer some worksheet questions to deepen their understanding of rock properties and relate them to the cavern design problem.