Get A Grip On Robotics
Get A Grip On Robotics is a wonderful site for both children and adults to learn about robots. The site focuses mainly on industrial applications of robots -- their most common and practical use. The exhibit covers robot basics, the five main parts of a robot, how they move (i.e., "degrees of freedom"), and current and future outlooks for the technology. There are several animations that show a jointed-arm robot in action and how it compares to a human arm. One section of the site addresses the
I Don’t Believe My Eyes!
Students develop their understanding of the effects of invisible air pollutants with a rubber band air test, a bean plant experiment and by exploring engineering roles related to air pollution. In an associated literacy activity, students develop visual literacy and write photograph captions. They learn how images are manipulated for a powerful effect and how a photograph can make the invisible (such as pollutants) visible. Note: You may want to set up the activities for Air Pollution unit, Less
This lesson is an exciting conclusion to the airplanes unit that encourages students to think creatively. After a review of the concepts learned, students will design their own flying machine based on their knowledge of the forces involved in flight, the properties of available materials, and the ways in which their flying machine could benefit society. Students will also learn how the brainstorming process helps in creative thinking and inventing and that scientists and engineers use this techn
Students further their understanding of the salmon life cycle and the human structures and actions that aid in the migration of fish around hydroelectric dams by playing an animated PowerPoint game involving a fish that must climb a fish ladder to get over a dam. They first brainstorm their own ideas, and then learn about existing ways engineers have made dams “friendlier” to migrating fish, before being quizzed as part of the game.
Building Tetrahedral Kites
Working in teams of four, students build tetrahedral kites following specific instructions and using specific materials. They use the basic processes of manufacturing systems – cutting, shaping, forming, conditioning, assembling, joining, finishing, and quality control – to manufacture complete tetrahedral kites within a given time frame. Project evaluation takes into account team efficiency and the quality of the finished product.
The Mummified Troll: Devising a Protection Plan
Students are introduced to the parameters of an engineering challenge in which their principal has asked them to devise an invisible security system to cost-effectively protect a treasured mummified troll, while still allowing for visitor viewing during the day. Students generate ideas for solving the grand challenge, first independently, then in small groups, and finally, compiled as a class.
A Case of Innovation
A white paper is a focused analysis often used to describe how a technology solves a problem. In this literacy activity, students write a simplified version of a white paper on an alternative electrical power generation technology. In the process, they develop their critical thinking skills and become aware of the challenge and promise of technological innovation that engineers help to make possible. This activity is geared towards fifth grade and older students and computer capabilities are req
In this activity, students explore the importance of charts to navigation on bodies of water. Using one worksheet, students learn to read the major map features found on a real nautical chart. Using another worksheet, students draw their own nautical chart using the symbols and identifying information learned.
Power to the People
Students read and evaluate descriptions of how people live “off the grid” using solar power and come to understand better the degree to which that lifestyle is or is not truly independent of technological, economic and cultural infrastructure and resources. In the process, students develop a deeper appreciation of the meaning of “community” and the need for human connection. This activity is geared towards fifth-grade and older students and Internet research capabilities are required. Po
Will It Fly?
In this lesson, students will learn about kites and gliders and how these models can help in understanding the concept of flight. Students will design and build their own balsa wood models and experiment with different control surfaces. The goal of this lesson is for students to apply their existing knowledge about the four forces affecting flight and apply engineering design to develop a sound glider. They will also communicate the reasoning and results of any design modifications made.
Power, Work and the Waterwheel
Waterwheels are devices that generate power and do work. Students construct a waterwheel using two-liter bottles, dowel rods and index cards, and calculate the power created and work done by them.
Music and sound are two different concepts that share much in common. Determining the difference between the two can sometimes be difficult due to the subjective nature of deciding what is or is not music. The goal of this activity is to take something constructed by students, that would be normally classified as just sound and have the class work together to make what can be perceived to be music. Students will construct a basic stringed instrument made of a shoebox and rubber bands. This activ
Design Your Own Rube Goldberg Machine
Engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg is famous for his crazy machines that accomplish everyday tasks in overly complicated ways. Students use their new understanding of types of simple machines to design and build their own Rube Goldberg machines that perform simple tasks in no less than 10 steps.
The Boxes Go Mobile
To display the results from the previous activity, each student designs and constructs a mobile that contains a duplicate of his or her original box, the new cube-shaped box of the same volume, the scraps that are left over from the original box, and pertinent calculations of the volumes and surface areas involved.
Convertible Shoes: Function, Fashion and Design
Students teams design and build shoe prototypes that convert between high heels and athletic shoes. They apply their knowledge about the mechanics of walking and running as well as shoe design (as learned in the associated lesson) to design a multifunctional shoe that is both fashionable and functional.
River Flow Rate
In this activity, students utilize their understanding and feel for flow rate from the Faucet Flow Rate activity to estimate the flow rate in a local river. The objective is for students to relate laboratory experiment results to the environment. Students will then use the Engineering Our Water Living Lab (accessible through TeachEngineering.com) to determine the actual flow rate data for their chosen river. They will compare their estimate with the actual flow rate. Note: for this activity to b
The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate some of the different parts of an airplane through the construction of a paper airplane. Students will build several different kinds of paper airplanes in order to figure out what makes an airplane fly and what can be changed to influence the flying characteristics of an airplane.
In this activity, students learn how engineers use solar energy to heat buildings by investigating the thermal storage properties of some common materials: sand, salt, water and shredded paper. Students then evaluate the usefulness of each material as a thermal storage material to be used as the thermal mass in a passive solar building.
Students learn about weight by building a spring scale and observing how it responds to objects with different masses.
A Merry-Go-Round for Dirty Air
Students observe and discuss a cup and pencil model of a cyclone to better understand the science behind how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.