Light It Up
Through an introduction to the design of lighting systems and the electromagnetic spectrum, students learn about the concept of daylighting as well as two types of light bulbs (lamps) often used in energy-efficient lighting design. Students learn how the application of something as simple, and free, as natural light can help them improve the future of generations to come.
Polluted Air = Polluted Lungs
To gain a better understanding of the roles and functions of components of the human respiratory system and our need for clean air, students construct model lungs that include a diaphragm and chest cavity. They see how air moving in and out of the lungs coincides with diaphragm movement. Then student teams design and build a prototype face mask pollution filter. They use their model lungs to evaluate their prototypes to design requirements.
Students are introduced to the circulatory system, the heart, and blood flow in the human body. Through guided pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading activities, students learn about the circulatory system’s parts, functions and disorders, as well as engineering medical solutions. By cultivating literacy practices as presented in this lesson, students can improve their scientific and technological literacy.
Clearing a Path to the Heart
Following the engineering design process and acting as biomedical engineers, student teams use everyday materials to design and develop devices and approaches to unclog blood vessels. They learn about the circulatory system, biomedical engineering, and conditions that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Students are introduced to the respiratory system, the lungs and air. They learn about how the lungs and diaphragm work, how air pollution affects lungs and respiratory functions, some widespread respiratory problems, and how engineers help us stay healthy by designing machines and medicines that support respiratory health and function.
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.
Serial Dilution of Food Coloring Dye
Students use dyes to explore serial dilution, an important technique in physical science and engineering. Students systematically dilute solutions of food coloring with pure water. They observe how the color intensity, or saturation, of each subsequent solution changes. They also keep a running calculation of the concentration of drops per ml water. They apply what they learn to discussions of biomedical engineers working with cells.
In this unit, students first are introduced to the historical motivation for space exploration. They learn about the International Space Station and are introduced to new and futuristic ideas that space engineers are currently working on to propel space research. Next, students learn about the physical properties of the Moon. They are asked to think about what types of products engineers would need to design for us to live comfortably on the Moon. Lastly, students learn some basic facts about as
Students apply their knowledge about mountains and rocks to transportation engineering, with the task of developing a model mountain tunnel that simulates the principles behind real-life engineering design. Student teams design and create model tunnels through a clay mountain, working within design constraints and testing for success; the tunnels must meet specific design requirements and withstand a certain load.
This activity poses the question: What would happen if a meteor or comet impacted Earth? Students simulate an impact in a container of sand using various-sized rocks, all while measuring, recording and graphing results and conclusions. Then students brainstorm ways to prevent an object from hitting the Earth.
Making a Liquid Xylophone
Students design musical instruments inspired by what they learn in an experiment with beakers of different liquids. In the “research and investigate” stage of design, they experiment to determine the general relationship between pitch (frequency) and liquid density. They use their results to draw designs for instruments that can create sound at several different pitches.
Students learn some basic facts about asteroids in our solar system, mainly about the size of asteroids and how that relates to the potential danger of an asteroid colliding with the Earth. Students are briefly introduced to the destruction that would ensue should a large asteroid hit, as it did 65 million years ago.
Audio Engineers: Sound Weavers
Students are introduced to audio engineers, discovering the type of environment in which they work and exactly what they do on a day-to-day basis. Students come to realize that audio engineers help produce their favorite music and movies.
Student are introduced to rivers, and to the components of the water cycle. They think about the effects of communities, sidewalks and roads on the natural flow of rainwater. Students also learn about the role of engineering in community planning and protecting our natural resources.
We all know that it takes energy to provide us with the basics of shelter: heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, sanitation and cooking. To create energy-efficient housing that is practical for people to use every day requires combining many smaller systems that each perform a function well, and making smart decisions about the sources of power we use. Through five lessons on the topics of heat transfer, circuits, daylighting, electricity from renewable energy sources, and passive solar desig
Don’t Confuse Your Qs!
Students investigate the difference between qualitative and quantitative measurements and observations. By describing objects both qualitatively and quantitatively, students learn that both types of information are required for complete descriptions. Students discuss various the characteristics of many objects, demonstrating how engineers use both qualitative and quantitative information in product design.
Students learn the basics about soil, including its formation, characteristics and importance. They are also introduced to soil profiles and how engineers conduct site investigations to learn about soil quality for development, contamination transport, and assessing the general environmental health of an area.
The Outer Planets
Students explore the outermost planets of our solar system: Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They also learn about characteristics of Pluto and its interactions with Neptune. Students learn a little about the history of space travel as well as the different technologies that engineers develop to make space travel and scientific discovery possible.
Solar Water Heater
Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. This thermal energy is next transferred to water (to be used as domestic hot water) in the form of heat. In doing this, students gain a better understanding of the three different types of heat transfer, each of which plays a role in the solar water heater design. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform
Students learn that wind and storms can form at the boundaries of interacting high and low pressure air masses. They learn the distinguishing features of the four main types of weather fronts (warm fronts, cold fronts, stationary fronts and occluded fronts) and how these fronts are depicted on a surface weather analysis, or weather map. Students also learn several different ways that engineers help with storm prediction, analysis and protection.