Shoes Under Pressure
Students explore the basic physics behind walking, and the design and engineering of shoes to accommodate different gaits. They are introduced to pressure, force and impulse as they relate to shoes, walking and running. Students learn about the mechanics of walking, shoe design and common gait misalignments that often lead to injury.
A New Angle on PV Efficiency
Students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel relative to the sun affects the efficiency of the panel. Using sunshine (or a lamp) and a small PV panel connected to a digital multimeter, students vary the angle of the solar panel, record the resulting current output on a worksheet, and plot their experimental results.
The Grand Challenge: Simulating Human Vision
This lesson introduces the Robotics Peripheral Vision Grand Challenge question. Students are asked to write journal responses to the question and brainstorm what information they will need to answer the question. The ideas are shared with the class and recorded. Students then share their ideas with each other and brainstorm any additional ideas. Next students draw a basis for the average peripheral vision of a human being and then compare that range to the range of two different focal lengths in
Graphing Equations on the Cartesian Plane: Slope
The lesson teaches students about an important characteristic of lines: their slope. Slope can be determined either in graphical or algebraic form. Slope can also be described as positive, negative, zero, or undefined. Students get an explanation of when and how these different types of slope occur. Finally, students learn how slope relates to parallel and perpendicular lines. When two lines are parallel, they have the same slope and when they are perpendicular their slopes are negative reciproc
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.
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 learn about tornadoes - their basic characteristics, damage and occurrence. Students are introduced to the ways that engineers consider strong winds, specifically tornadoes, in their design of structures. Also, students learn how tornadoes are rated, and learn some basics of tornado safety.
AM I on the Radio?
During this activity, students create a working radio by soldering circuit components supplied from an AM radio kit. Since this activity is carried out in conjunction with the associated lessons concerning circuits and how an AM radio works, students should be able to identify each circuit component they are soldering, as well as how their placement causes the radio to work. Besides reinforcing concepts from the lessons, this activity will also teach students how to solder. Soldering is an activ
Let’s Move It!
Students explore methods employing simple machines likely used in ancient pyramid building, as well as common modern-day material transportation. They learn about the wheel and axle as a means to transport materials from rock quarry to construction site. They also learn about different types and uses of a lever for purposes of transport. In an open-ended design activity, students choose from everyday materials to engineer a small-scale cart and lever system to convey pyramid-building materials.
What Trickles Down?
Permeability is the degree to which water or other liquids are able to flow through a material. Different substances such as soil, gravel, sand, and asphalt have varying levels of permeability. In this activity, students will explore different levels of permeability and compare the permeabilities of several different materials. They will also be introduced to the basic concepts of building design, landscape architecture, and environmental pollutant transport. As an extension activity, they will
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
Improve the System
This activity will lead your class through identifying possible solutions to the design problems that the current west corridor of FasTracks faces. The students will combine what they have learned from all three previous activities to come up with possible solutions to the design problems faced by the system. This activity requires the use of the FasTracks Living Lab.