The Challenge Question
This lesson introduces the “Walk the Line” Challenge question. Students are asked to journal responses to the question and brainstorm what information they will need to answer the question. The ideas are shared with the class (or in pairs and then to the class, if class size is large). Students then read an interview with an engineer to gain a professional perspective on linear data sets and best-fit lines. Students brainstorm any additional ideas and add them to the list they produced alrea
Applications of Linear Functions
This lesson culminates the unit with the Go Public phase of the legacy cycle. In the associated activities, students will use linear models to depict Hooke’s law as well as Ohm’s law. To conclude the lesson, students must apply they’ve learned throughout the unit to answer the grand challenge question in a writing assignment.
Design Step 2: Research the Problem
Through Internet research, patent research, standards and codes research, user interviews (if possible) and other techniques (idea web, reverse engineering), students further develop the context for their design challenge. In subsequent activities, the design teams use this body of knowledge about the problem to generate product design ideas. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on, which could be a challenge determined by the teacher, brainst
Students design, build and test model race cars made from simple materials (lifesaver-shaped candies, plastic drinking straws, Popsicle sticks, index cards, tape) as a way to explore independent, dependent and control variables. They measure the changes in distance travelled with the addition of mass to the vehicles. Students also practice the steps of the engineering design process by brainstorming, planning, building, testing, and improving their “mint-mobiles.”
Engineer a Coin Sorter
Students learn about the engineering design process and how it is used to engineer products for everyday use. Students individually brainstorm solutions for sorting coins and draw at least two design ideas. They work in small groups to combine ideas and build a coin sorter using common construction materials such as cardboard, tape, straws and fabric. Students test their coin sorters, make revisions and suggest ways to improve their designs. By designing, building, testing and improving coin sor
Bernoulli’s principle relates the pressure of a fluid to its elevation and its speed. Bernoulli’s equation can be used to approximate these parameters in water, air or any fluid that has very low viscosity. Students learn about the relationships between the components of the Bernoulli equation through real-life engineering examples and practice problems.
Test and Treat Before You Drink
Students learn about water quality testing (coliform bacteria, turbidity) and what is involved in basic water treatment designs. Biological, physical and chemical treatment processes are addressed, as well as physical and biological water quality testing, including testing for bacteria such as E.coli.
Measuring Lava Flow
Students learn how volume, viscosity and slope are factors that affect the surface area that lava covers. Using clear transparency grids and liquid soap, students conduct experiments, make measurements and collect data. They also brainstorm possible solutions to lava flow problems as if they were geochemical engineers, and come to understand how the properties of lava are applicable to other liquids.
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.
How Much Water Do You Use?
Students keep track of their own water usage for one week, gaining an understanding of how much water is used for various everyday activities. They relate their own water usages to the average residents of imaginary Thirsty County, and calculate the necessary water capacity of a dam that would provide residential water to the community.
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
Repairing Broken Bones
Students learn about how biomedical engineers aid doctors in repairing severely broken bones. They learn about using pins, plates, rods and screws to repair fractures. They do this by designing, creating and testing their own prototype devices to repair broken turkey bones.
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
Locks and Dams
Students are introduced to the structure, function and purpose of locks and dams, which involves an introduction to Pascal’s law, water pressure and gravity.
Are Dams Forever?
Students learn that dams do not last forever. Similar to other human-made structures, such as roads and bridges, dams require regular maintenance and have a finite lifespan. Many dams built during the 1930-70s, an era of intensive dam construction, have an expected life of 50-100 years. Due to inadequate maintenance and/or for environmental reasons, some of these dams will fail or be removed in the next 50 years. The engineers with Splash Engineering have an ethical obligation to remind Thirsty
Why Do We Build Dams?
Students are introduced to the concept of a dam and its potential benefits, which include water supply, electricity generation, flood control, recreation and irrigation. This lesson begins an ongoing classroom scenario in which student engineering teams working for the Splash Engineering firm design dams for a fictitious client, Thirsty County.
Water and Dams in Today’s World
Students learn about the importance of dams by watching a video that presents historical and current information on dams, as well as descriptions of global water resources and the hydrologic cycle. Students also learn about different types of dams, all designed to resist the forces on dams. (If the free, 15-minute “Water and Dams in Today’s World” video cannot be obtained in time, the lesson can still be taught. See the Additional Multimedia Support section for how to obtain the DVD or VHS
Bone Fractures and Engineering
Students learn about the role engineers and engineering play in repairing severe bone fractures. They acquire knowledge about the design and development of implant rods, pins, plates, screws and bone grafts. They learn about materials science, biocompatibility and minimally-invasive surgery.
Passive Solar Design
Students are introduced to passive solar design for buildings — an approach that uses the sun’s energy and the surrounding climate to provide natural heating and cooling. They learn about some of the disadvantage of conventional heating and cooling and how engineers incorporate passive solar designs into our buildings for improved efficiency.
Through eight lessons, students are introduced to many facets of dams, including their basic components, the common types (all designed to resist strong forces), their primary benefits (electricity generation, water supply, flood control, irrigation, recreation), and their importance (historically, currently and globally). Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how dams generate electricity. They learn about the structure, function and purpose of loc