Engineers Love Pizza, Too!
In this service-learning engineering project, students follow the steps of the engineering design process to design an assistive eating device for a client. More specifically, they design a prototype device to help a young girl who has a medical condition that restricts the motion of her joints. Her wish is to eat her favorite food, pizza, without getting her nose wet. Students learn about arthrogryposis and how it affects the human body as they act as engineers to find a solution to this open-e
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.
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
Birds of prey
David Attenborough takes to the air in a glider to experience air current lifts as a bird while observing various birds of prey high in the mountains of Spain. This video contains fabulous footage from the BBC.