Solid, Liquid or Gas?
Students are given a variety of materials and asked to identify if each material as a solid, liquid or gas. They use their five senses — sight, sound, smell, texture and taste — to identify the other characteristics of each item.
Sliders (for High School)
In this hands-on activity, students learn about two types of friction — static and kinetic — and the equation that governs them. They also measure the coefficient of static friction and the coefficient of kinetic friction experimentally.
In this activity, students will design a process that removes the most iron from the cereal. This activity is meant for the students to experiment with different materials using what they know about iron, magnets, and forces to design the best process for removing the iron from the cereal.
In this lesson, students will learn that minerals are a necessary part of our diet. They will learn that different minerals have different functions in the body. More specifically, they will discover that iron is necessary to carry oxygen around the body. In the associated activity, students will design a process that removes the most iron from the cereal.
Get Your Motor Running
Students investigate motors and electromagnets as they construct their own simple electric motors using batteries, magnets, paper clips and wire.
Find Your Own Direction
In this activity, students create their own simple compass using thread, needle and water in a bowl — and learn how it works.
Population Density: How Much Space Do You Have?
Students learn about population density within environments and ecosystems. They determine the density of a population and think about why population density and distribution information is useful to engineers for city planning and design as well as for resource allocation.
Students gain an understanding of the parts of a plant, plant types and how they produce their own food from sunlight through photosynthesis. They also learn about transpiration, the process by which plants release moisture to the atmosphere. With this understanding, students test the effects of photosynthesis and transpiration by growing a plant from seed. They learn how plants play an important part in maintaining a balanced environment in which the living organisms of the Earth survive. This
Students learn about the Earth’s only natural satellite, the Moon. They discuss the Moon’s surface features and human exploration. They also learn about how engineers develop technologies to study and explore the Moon, which also helps us learn more about the Earth.
Destination Outer Space
Students acquire a basic understanding of the science and engineering of space travel as well as a brief history of space exploration. They learn about the scientists and engineers who made space travel possible and briefly examine some famous space missions. Finally, they learn the basics of rocket science (Newton’s third law of motion), the main components of rockets and the U.S. space shuttle, and how engineers are involved in creating and launching spacecraft.
Rolling Blackouts & Environmental Impact – What are our Electricity Options?
The goal is for the students to understand the environmental design considerations required when generating electricity. The electric power that we use every day at home and work is generated by a variety of power plants. Power plants are engineered to utilize the conversion of one form of energy to another. The main components of a power plant are an input source of energy that is used to turn large turbines, and a method to convert the turbine rotation into electricity. The input sources of en
Swinging with Style
Students experientially learn about the characteristics of a simple physics phenomenon — the pendulum — by riding on playground swings. They use pendulum terms and a timer to experiment with swing variables. They extend their knowledge by following the steps of the engineering design process to design timekeeping devices powered by human swinging.
Building a Fancy Spectrograph
Students create and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. A holographic diffraction grating acts like a prism, showing the visual components of light. After building the spectrographs, students observe the spectra of different light sources as homework.
Through a five-lesson series with five hands-on activities, students are introduced to six simple machines - inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, pulley, wheel-and-axle - as well as compound machines, which are combinations of two or more simple machines. Once students understand about work (work = force x distance), they become familiar with the machines' mechanical advantages, and see how they make work easier. Through an introduction to compound machines, students begin to think critically ab
Tools and Equipment, Part I
Through a series of activities, students discover that the concept of mechanical advantage describes reality fairly well. They act as engineers creating a design for a ramp at a construction site by measuring four different inclined planes and calculating the ideal mechanical advantage versus the actual mechanical advantage of each. Then, they use their analysis to make recommendations for the construction site.
Live like an Animal
In this activity, students design an innovative human shelter that is inspired and informed by an animal structure. Each group is assigned an animal class, and they gather information about shelters used by the animals in that class. After researching the topic and brainstorming ideas, students build small prototypes (models) of the structures. Finally, they present their products, explaining what attribute of the animal structure influenced their design.
This Lesson provides two different activities that require students to measure energy outputs and inputs to determine the efficiency of conversions and simple systems. One of the activities includes Lego motors and accomplishing work. The other investigates energy for heating water. They learn about by products of energy conversions and how to improve upon efficiency. The teacher can choose to use either of these or both of these. The calculations in the water heating experiment are more complic
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
A quantitative illustration of how non-renewable resources are depleted while renewable resources continue to provide energy. The activity requires students to remove beads (units of energy) from a bag (representing a country). A certain number of beads are removed from the bag each “year.” At some point, no non-renewable beads remain. Groups of students have different ratios of renewable and non-renewable energy beads. A comparison of the remaining beads and time when they ran out of energy
Corn for Fuel?!
In this activity, students examine how to grow plants the most efficiently. They imagine that they are designing a biofuels production facility and need to know how to efficiently grow plants to use in this facility. As a means of solving this design problem, they plan a scientific experiment in which they investigate how a given variable (of their choice) affects plant growth. They then make predictions about the outcomes and record their observations after two weeks regarding the condition of