Celestial navigation is the process of finding your position on Earth based on astronomical guideposts. In this lesson, explore the principles of navigation; build tools to observe celestial bodies, and learn how science, mathematics, technology, and history are intertwined.
Design Step 5: Construct a Prototype
Students learn about the manufacturing phase of the engineering design process. They start by building prototypes, which is a special type of model used to test new design ideas. Students gain experience using a variety of simple building materials, such as foam core board, balsa wood, cardstock and hot glue. They present their prototypes to the class for user testing and create prototype iterations based on feedback. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students
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.
Hot Potato, Cool Foil
Students explore material properties by applying some basic principles of heat transfer. They use calorimeters to determine the specific heat of three substances: aluminum, copper and another of their choice. Each substance is cooled in a freezer and then placed in the calorimeter. The temperature change of the water and the substance are used in heat transfer equations to determine the specific heat of each substance. The students compare their calculated values with tabulated data.
Transportation and the Environment
Looking at transportation and the environment, students learn that some human-made creations, such as vehicles, can harm the environment. They also learn about alternative fuels and vehicles designed by engineers to minimize pollution. The associated hands-on activity gives students a chance to design their own eco-friendly vehicle.
Air Under Pressure
Students are introduced to air masses, with an emphasis on the differences between and characteristics of high- versus low-pressure air systems. Students also hear about weather forecasting instrumentation and how engineers work to improve these instruments for atmospheric measurements on Earth and in space.
Students will be challenged to design and construct a tower out of newspaper. They will have limited supplies including newspaper, tape, and scissors since engineers are often restricted by economic reasons as to how much material they can use in their building. The students will be building for height and stability, and their towers must be designed to withstand a lateral “wind” load.
Testing Fundamental Loads
Students will conduct several simple lab activities to learn about the five fundamental load types that can act on structures: tension, compression, shear, bending, and torsion. In this activity, students break foam insulation blocks by applying these five fundamental load types (tension, compression, shear, bending and torsion). Students will study carefully each type of fracture pattern (break in the material) and make drawings of the fracture patterns in their notes in order to learn the tell
Dalmatian Pelicans in Flight
This short video gives excellent real life, close up footage of Dalmatian Pelicans in flight. Stunning, silvery-white plumage adorns this large pelican during the breeding season, contrasting with the rubbery orange-red pouch beneath the bill, as well as to the yellow to purple bare skin around the eyes. A thick crest of silver feathers on the nape adds to the luxurious look of this impressive bird. This is a great resource to help build background knowledge and to help make real world conn