Cleaning Up with Decomposers
Students investigate decomposers and the role of decomposers in maintaining the flow of nutrients in an environment. Students also learn how engineers use decomposers to help clean up wastes in a process known as bioremediation. This lesson concludes a series of six lessons in which students use their growing understanding of various environments and the engineering design process, to design and create their own model biodome ecosystems.
Students are introduced to chemical engineering and learn about its many different applications. They are provided with a basic introduction to matter and its different properties and states. An associated hands-on activity gives students a chance to test their knowledge of the states of matter and how to make observations using their five senses: touch, smell, sound, sight and taste.
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
Environments and Ecosystems
Students explore the biosphere and its associated environments and ecosystems in the context of creating a model ecosystem, learning along the way about the animals and resources. Students investigate different types of ecosystems, learn new vocabulary, and consider why a solid understanding of one’s environment and the interdependence of an ecosystem can inform the choices we make and the way we engineer our communities. This lesson is part of a series of six lessons in which students use the
Engineering in Reverse!
Students learn about the process of reverse engineering and how this technique is used to improve upon technology. In this activity, students analyze a push-toy and draw a diagram of the predicted mechanisms inside the toy. Then, they disassemble the toy and draw the actual inner mechanisms. By understanding how the push-toy functions, students make suggestions for improvement, such as cost effectiveness, improved functionality, ecological friendliness and any additional functionality they deter
Energy Sources Research
Fact sheets are provided for several different energy resources as a starting point for students to conduct literature research on the way these systems work and their various pros and cons. Students complete a worksheet for homework or take more time in class for research and presentation of their findings to the class. This approach requires students to learn for themselves and to teach each other – rather than having a teacher lecture about the various sources and systems.
Clean It Up!
Students learn about a special branch of engineering called bioremediation, which is the use of living organisms to aid in the clean-up of pollutant spills. Students learn all about bioremediation and see examples of its importance. In the associated activity, students conduct an experiment and see bioremediation in action!
Students do work by lifting a known mass over a period of time. The mass and measured distance and time is used to calculate force, work, energy and power in metric units. The students’ power is then compared to horse power and the power required to light a 60 W light bulb.
How Mountains are Formed
Students investigate how mountains are formed. Concepts include the composition and structure of the Earth’s tectonic plates and tectonic plate boundaries, with an emphasis on plate convergence as it relates to mountain formation. Students learn that geotechnical engineers design technologies to measure movement of tectonic plates and mountain formation, as well as design to alter the mountain environment to create safe and dependable roadways and tunnels.
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.
Students use a simple pH indicator to measure how much CO2 is produced during respiration, at rest and after exercising. They begin by comparing some common household solutions in order to determine the color change of the indicator. They review the concepts of pH and respiration and extend their knowledge to measuring the effectiveness of bioremediation in the environment.
Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials.
Viking Ship Design Challenge
In this design challenge, students learn about the Vikings from an engineering point-of-view. While investigating the history and anatomy of Viking ships, they learn how engineering solutions are shaped by the surrounding environment and availability of resources. Students apply this knowledge to design, build and test their own model Viking ships.
This activity is a teacher-led demonstration of continental drift and includes a math worksheet for students involving the calculation of continental drift over time. Students will understand what continental drift is, why it occurs, and how earthquakes occur because of it.
Simple Machines and Modern Day Engineering Analogies
Students apply the mechanical advantages and problem-solving capabilities of six types of simple machines (wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, pulley) as they discuss modern structures in the spirit of the engineers and builders of the great pyramids. While learning the steps of the engineering design process, students practice teamwork, creativity and problem solving.
Tower Investigation and the Egg
Towers have been a part of developed society for centuries. Towers serve a variety of purposes, from lookouts to cellular towers. In this activity student groups will build three types of towers, engineering them to hold an egg one foot high for 15 seconds.
Light Plants and Dark Plants, Wet Plants and Dry Ones
Students plant sunflower seeds in plastic cups, and once germinated, these are exposed to different conditions of light levels and/or soil moisture contents. During exposure of the plants to these different conditions, students measure growth of the seedlings every few days using non-standard measurement (inch cubes). After a few weeks, they compare the growth of plants exposed to the different conditions, and make pictorial bar graphs that demonstrate these comparisons.
In this lesson, students will determine what supplies they will take with them to survive their trip through the Amazon. Students will use estimation and basic math skills to determine how much they can carry and what they can use to survive in the Amazon and how much they can carry until they reach their destination.
Testing the Caverns - Optional
This activity provides a fun, activity-based closure to the Asteroid Impact unit. Students build model caverns using paper mache or clay and bury them in a tray of sand. Next, they test the models by dropping balls onto them to simulate an asteroid hitting the earth. By molding paper mache around a balloon to form a dome, or around a small cardboard box to form a rectangular structure, students will be able to build their caverns.
Interfaith Service - URI's 20th Annual LGBTQ Symposium
URI's 20th Annual LGBTQ Symposium - Interfaith service following a talk by Bishop Gene Robinson.