Measure Twice, Cut Once
Students learn the metric units engineers use to measure mass, distance (or length) and volume. They make estimations using these units and compare their guesses with actual values. To introduce the concepts, the teacher needs access to a meter stick, a one-liter bottle, a glass container that measures milliliters and a gram scale.
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.
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.
One World Ocean
In this activity, students learn about ocean currents and the difference between salt and fresh water. They use colored ice cubes to see how cold and warm water mix and how this mixing causes currents. Also, students learn how surface currents occur due to wind streams. Lastly, they learn how fresh water floats on top of salt water, the difference between water in the ocean and fresh water throughout the planet, and how engineers are involved in the design of ocean water systems for human use.
Mix It Up
This lesson plan introduces the properties of mixtures and solutions. A class demonstration gives the students the opportunity to compare and contrast the physical characteristics of a few simple mixtures and solutions. Students discuss the separation of mixtures and solutions back into their original components as well as different engineering applications of mixtures and solutions.
Powering the U.S.
This lesson provides students with an overview of the electric power industry in the United States. Students also become familiar with the environmental impacts associated with a variety of energy sources.
Students are introduced to natural disasters, and learn the difference between natural hazards and natural disasters. They discover the many types of natural hazards — avalanche, earthquake, flood, forest fire, hurricane, landslide, thunderstorm, tornado, tsunami and volcano — as well as specific examples of natural disasters. Students also explore why understanding these natural events is important to engineers and everyone’s survival on our planet.
Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn and Titan
Students use authentic spectral data from the Cassini mission of Saturn and Saturn’s moon, Titan, gathered by instrumentation developed by engineers. Taking these unknown data, and comparing it with known data, students determine the chemical composition of Saturn’s rings and Titan’s atmosphere.
Students learn about the many types of expenses associated with building a bridge. Working like engineers, they estimate the cost for materials for a bridge member of varying sizes. After making calculations, they graph their results to compare how costs change depending on the use of different materials (steel vs. concrete). They conclude by creating a proposal for a city bridge design based on their findings.
Students explore how different materials (sand, gravel, lava rock) with different water contents on different slopes result in landslides of different severity. They measure the severity by how far the landslide debris extends into model houses placed in the flood plain. This activity is a small-scale model of a debris chute currently being used by engineers and scientists to study landslide characteristics. Much of this activity setup is the same as for the Survive That Tsunami activity in Less
In this activity, students will learn about how tornadoes are formed and what they look like. By creating a water vortex in a soda bottle, they will get a first-hand look at tornadoes.
Students design and conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots will have decomposed completely.
Lost in the Amazon
The Lost in the Amazon curricular unit is a series of minds-on and hands-on engineering activities based in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Motivated by an adventurous theme, students discover, learn and apply the following: 1) Classification of Plants and Insects; 2) General Categorizing Skills; 3) Process Skills: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking; 4) Scientific Testing and Experimentation; 5) Properties of Materials The investigative, exploratory and problem solving nature of Lost in the
Straining out the Dirt
In this activity, students build a water filter with activated carbon, cotton and other materials to remove chocolate powder from water.
Improving West Corridor Design
This lesson uses the FasTracks Living Lab, a web portal to interactive train (transit) traffic data for a major metropolitan city. In this lesson, students will first evaluate whether a particular section of the transit system is functioning in an efficient manner and whether it is meeting design requirements. Then, students will suggest design improvements and evaluate whether they make a positive impact on the performance of the transit system. Throughout this lesson, students will work with r
Launching a new venture Newbie Lesson #8 - I’m thirsty! Discovering Properties of Matter How Lead Batteries are Made 4.112 Architecture Design Fundamentals I: Nano-Machines (MIT)
What strategies can entrepreneurs adopt to help them weather the current economic storm? John Mullins, Associate Professor of Management Practice, has researched entrepreneurial ventures and offers some valuable insights
Learn Spanish with Spanishpod101.com! Are you thirsty? Would you like a refreshing drink? It would be impossible for us to provide that but Alan and Lisy are here to quench that thirst for more Spanish. They’ll focus on expressions of thirst, using the verb “tener” (to have). I have a lot of thirst! I mean, [...]
What is matter? How do we define it? What are some of its properties that we can measure? Come learn all about this fundamental piece of science in this Wowie clip from the Children's Museum of Houston. Cynthia briefly discusses the following properties of matter: shape, texture, magnetism, fluorescence, and mass. (0:59)
Batteries are great examples of chemical potential energy, energy that is stored up. Find out how lead batteries are made and what causes the chemical reaction as we take a trip to the Superior Battery Manufacturing Company on Discovery Channel's "HowStuffWorks" show. (02:49)
This is the second undergraduate architecture design studio, which introduces design logic and skills that enable design thinking, representation, and development. Through the lens of nano-scale machines, technologies, and phenomena, students are asked to explore techniques for describing form, space, and architecture. Exercises encourage various connotations of the "machine" and challenge students to translate conceptual strategies into more integrated design propositions through both
Newbie Lesson #8 - I’m thirsty!
Discovering Properties of Matter
How Lead Batteries are Made
4.112 Architecture Design Fundamentals I: Nano-Machines (MIT)