Messin’ with Mixtures
In this activity, students investigate the properties of a heterogeneous mixture, trail mix, as if it were a contaminated soil sample near a construction site. This activity shows students that heterogeneous mixtures can be separated by physical means, and that when separated, all the parts will equal the whole.
Engineering in Sports
Imagining themselves arriving at the Olympic gold medal soccer game in Beijing, students begin to think about how engineering is involved in sports. After a discussion of kinetic and potential energy, an associated hands-on activity gives students an opportunity to explore energy absorbing materials as they try to protect an egg from being crushed.
In this lesson, students learn about sound. Girls and boys are introduced to the concept of frequency and how it applies to musical sounds.
Visible Light and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
In this lesson, the electromagnetic spectrum is explained and students learn that visible light makes up only a portion of this wide spectrum. Students also learn that engineers use electromagnetic waves for many different applications.
Household Energy Conservation and Efficiency
Students complete three different activities to evaluate the energy consumption in a household and explore potential ways to reduce that consumption. The focus is on conservation and energy efficient electrical devices and appliances. The lesson reinforces the relationship between power and energy and associated measurements and calculations required to evaluate energy consumption. The lesson provides the students with more concrete information for completing their culminating unit assignment.
Both Fields at Once?!
This lesson discusses the result of a charge being subject to both electric and magnetic fields at the same time. It covers the Hall effect, velocity selector, and the charge to mass ratio. Given several sample problems, students learn to calculate the Hall Voltage dependent upon the width of the plate, the drift velocity, and the strength of the magnetic field. Then students learn to calculate the velocity selector, represented by the ratio of the magnitude of the fields assuming the strength o
Visualizing Magnetic Field Lines
In this activity, students take the age old concept of etch-a-sketch a step further. Using iron filings, students begin visualizing magnetic field lines. To do so, students use a compass to read the direction of the magnet’s magnetic field. Then, students observe the behavior of iron filings near that magnet as they rotate the filings about the magnet. Finally, students study the behavior of iron filings suspended in mineral oil which displays the magnetic field in three dimensions.
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.
Getting it Right!
In this lesson, students will investigate error. As shown in earlier activities from navigation lessons 1 through 3, without an understanding of how errors can affect your position, you cannot navigate well. Introducing accuracy and precision will develop these concepts further. Also, students will learn how computers can help in navigation. Often, the calculations needed to navigate accurately are time consuming and complex. By using the power of computers to do calculations and repetitive task
All Caught Up
Commercial fishing nets often trap unprofitable animals in the process of catching their target species. In the following activity, students will experience the difficulty that fishermen experience while trying to isolate a target species when a variety of animals are found in the area of interest. The class will then discuss the large magnitude of this problem. Students will practice their data acquisition and analysis skills, through the collection of data and processing of this information to
Sound for Sight
Echolocation is the ability to orient by transmitting sound and receiving echoes from objects in the environment. As a result of a Marco-Polo type activity and subsequent lesson, students learn basic concepts of echolocation. They use these concepts to understand how dolphins use echolocation to locate prey, escape predators, navigate their environment, such as avoiding gillnets set by commercial fishing vessels. Students will also learn that dolphin sounds are vibrations created by vocal organs
Do Different Colors Absorb Heat Better?
Students test whether the color of a material affects how much heat it absorbs. Students will place an ice cube in a box made of colored paper (one box per color; white, yellow, red and black), which they will place in the sun. The students will make prediction as to which color will melt the ice cube first. They will record the order and time required for the ice cubes to melt.
Construct and Test Roofs for Different Climates
We design and create objects to make our lives easier and more comfortable. The houses in which we live are excellent examples of this. Depending on your local climate, the features of your house have been designed to satisfy your particular environmental needs: protection from hot, cold, windy and/or rainy weather. In this activity, students design and build model houses, then test them against various climate elements, and then re-design and improve them. Using books, websites and photos, stud
How To Make Yeast Cells Thrive
Students set up and run the experiments they designed in the lesson Population Growth in Yeasts, using simple yeast-molasses cultures in test tubes. Population growth is indicated by the amount of respiration occurring in the cultures, which in turn is indicated by the growth of carbon dioxide bubbles trapped within the culture tubes. Using this method, students can test for a variety of environmental influences, such as temperature, food supply, and pH.
Building Towards the Future
This curricular unit introduces students to basic Civil Engineering concepts in an exciting and interactive manner. Bridges and skyscrapers, the two most visible products of Civil Engineers, will be discussed in depth. Students will have a chance to design and build balsa wood structures, as well as understand the design principles behind these structures that allow them to withstand vertical and lateral forces. There is also an emphasis on how materials absorb different types of forces. Since t
Who Needs What?
The teacher leads a discussion in which students identify the physical needs of animals, and then speculate on the needs of plants. With guidance from the teacher, the students then help design an experiment that can take place in the classroom to test whether or not plants need light and water in order to grow. Sunflower seeds are planted in plastic cups, and once germinated, are exposed to different conditions. In particular, within the classroom setting it is easy to test for the effects of l
How Many Drops?
In this lesson and its associated activity, students conduct a simple test to determine how many drops of each of three liquids can be placed on a penny before spilling over. The three liquids are water, rubbing alcohol, and vegetable oil; because of their different surface tensions, more water can be piled on top of a penny than either of the other two liquids. However, this is not the main point of the activity. Instead, students are asked to come up with an explanation for their observations
Tracking a Virus
Students simulate the spread of a virus such as HIV through a population by “sharing” (but not drinking) the water in a plastic cup with several classmates. Although invisible, the water in a few of the cups will already be tainted with the “virus” (sodium carbonate). After all the students have shared their liquids, the contents of the cups will be tested for the virus with phenolphthalein, a chemical that causes a striking color change in the presence of sodium carbonate. Students will
Map that Habitat
Historically, sea floor mapping occurred with a more simple data collection method: soundings. Soundings are taken by dropping a weight with a pre-measured rope off the side of the boat and noting the measurement on the rope when the weight hits the bottom. This activity will replicate the creation of sea floor bathymetry by taking a simplified form of soundings in the classroom.
What's the Problem
Lesson 1 introduces the Asteroid Impact unit. Students will read the President’s memo to receive their ‘marching orders’. Student teams are then formed and are given the student packet that includes worksheets and maps. Each team should become familiar with the maps and complete Worksheet One as a group.