The purpose of this activity is to recreate the classic egg-drop experiment with an analogy to the Mars rover landing. The concept of terminal velocity will be introduced, and students will perform several velocity calculations. Also, students will have to design and build their lander within a pre-determined budget to help reinforce a real-world design scenario.
Students examine collisions between two skateboards with different masses to learn about conservation of momentum in collisions.
Swing in Time
Students examine the motion of pendulums and come to understand that the longer the string of the pendulum, the fewer the number of swings in a given time interval. They see that changing the weight on the pendulum does not have an effect on the period. They also observe that changing the angle of release of the pendulum has negligible effect upon the period.
This lesson introduces the concept of electricity by asking students to imagine what their life would be like without electricity. Two main forms of electricity, static and current, are introduced. Students learn that electrons can move between atoms, leaving atoms in a charged state.
Dress for Success
In this design activity, students investigate materials engineering as it applies to weather and clothing. Teams design and analyze different combinations of materials for effectiveness in specific weather conditions. Analysis includes simulation of temperature, wind and wetness elements, as well as the functionality and durability of final prototypes.
Save Our City!
Students learn about various natural hazards and specific methods engineers use to prevent these hazards from becoming natural disasters. They study a hypothetical map of an area covered with natural hazards and decide where to place natural disaster prevention devices by applying their critical thinking skills and an understanding of the causes of natural disasters.
Population Growth in Yeasts
This lesson is the second of two that explore cellular respiration and population growth in yeasts. In the first lesson, students set up a simple way to indirectly observe and quantify the amount of respiration occurring in yeast-molasses cultures. Based on questions that arose during the first lesson and its associated activity, in this lesson students work in small groups to design experiments that will determine how environmental factors affect yeast population growth.
Ramp and Review
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.
Two Sides of One Force
Students learn more about magnetism, and how magnetism and electricity are related in electromagnets. They learn the fundamentals about how simple electric motors and electromagnets work. Students also learn about hybrid gasoline-electric cars and their advantages over conventional gasoline-only-powered cars.
Build Your Own Insect Trap
Students design and construct devices to trap insects that are present in the area around the school. The objective is to ask the right design questions and conduct the right tests to determine if the traps work .
Density Rainbow and the Great Viscosity Race
Students explore the densities and viscosities of fluids as they create a colorful 'rainbow' using household liquids. While letting the fluids in the rainbow settle, students conduct 'The Great Viscosity Race,' another short experiment that illustrates the difference between viscosity and density. Later, students record the density rainbow with sketches and/or photography.
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.
Students use simple household materials, such as PVC piping and compact mirrors, to construct models of laser-based security systems. The protected object (a “mummified troll” or another treasure of your choosing) is placed “on display” in the center of the modeled room and protected by a laser system that utilizes a laser beam reflected off mirrors to trigger a light trip sensor with alarm.
Pictures Please – Traveling Light
Students learn that light travels in a straight line from a light source and that ray diagrams help us understand how images will be created by a lens. This prepares students for the associated activity, in which they explore the concepts behind the workings of a pinhole camera.
Seismic Waves: How Earthquakes Move the Earth
Students learn about the types of seismic waves produced by earthquakes and how they move the Earth. The dangers of earthquakes are presented as well as the necessity for engineers to design structures for earthquake-prone areas that are able to withstand the forces of seismic waves. Students learn how engineers build shake tables that simulate the ground motions of the Earth caused by seismic waves in order to test the seismic performance of buildings.
Where Am I: Navigation and Satellites
How do we know where we are? What happens if you are completely lost in the middle of nowhere? Does technology provide tools for people lost in their travels? A person cannot usually determine an accurate position just by looking out a window in the middle of the ocean or vast area of land, particularly if it has not been charted before. In this lesson, students explore the concept of triangulation that is used in navigation satellites and global positioning systems designed by engineers. Also,
By making and testing simple balloon rockets, students acquire a basic understanding of Newton’s third law of motion as it applies to rockets. Using balloons, string, straws and tape, they see how rockets are propelled by expelling gases, and test their rockets in horizontal and incline conditions. They also learn about the many types of engineers who design rockets and spacecraft.
Backyard Weather Station
Students use their senses to describe what the weather is doing and predict what it might do next. After gaining a basic understanding of weather patterns, students act as state park engineers and design/build “backyard weather stations” to gather data to make actual weather forecasts.
Thinking Green: Grow Your Own
This resource guide from the Middle School Portal 2 project, written specifically for teachers, provides links to exemplary resources including background information, lessons, career information, and related national science education standards. Student engagement with agriculture and gardening can not only fill a knowledge gap but also tap in to the affective domain. Students can get involved in community gardens, or collaboratively plan, plant, and cultivate a school garden, indoors, or out.
Guidelines for Integrating Comprehension-Based Word Study in Content Classrooms
Traditional approaches to vocabulary instruction are linear and may not help students develop deep understanding of words and retain their meanings. Vocabulary literacy is an approach to word study that engages students in word study and helps strengthen the connection between vocabulary learning and reading comprehension.