Pointing at Maximum Power for PV
Student teams measure voltage and current in order to determine the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) panel. They vary the resistance in a simple circuit connected to the panel to demonstrate the effects on voltage, current, and power output. After collecting data, they calculate power for each resistance setting, creating a graph of current vs. voltage, and indentifying the maximum power point.
This lab demonstrates Hooke’s Law with the use of springs and masses. The students attempt to determine the proportionality constant, or k-value, for a spring. The students do this by calculating the change in length of the spring as different masses are added to it. The concept of a springs elastic limit is also introduced, and the students must test to makes sure the spring’s elastic limit has not be reached during their tests in the lab. After compiling all of their data, they attempt to
Applications of Linear Functions
This lesson culminates the unit with the Go Public phase of the legacy cycle. In the associated activities, students will use linear models to depict Hooke’s law as well as Ohm’s law. To conclude the lesson, students must apply they’ve learned throughout the unit to answer the grand challenge question in a writing assignment.
Design Step 2: Research the Problem
Through Internet research, patent research, standards and codes research, user interviews (if possible) and other techniques (idea web, reverse engineering), students further develop the context for their design challenge. In subsequent activities, the design teams use this body of knowledge about the problem to generate product design ideas. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on, which could be a challenge determined by the teacher, brainst
Designing Medical Devices for the Ear
Students are introduced to engineering, and more specifically, to biomedical engineering and the engineering design process through a short lecture and interactive, hands-on activity (approximately 30 minutes long), where students design their own medical device for retrieving foreign bodies from the ear canal. In this lesson, the teacher first reviews the basics of ear anatomy then discusses how ear infections occur and how they are treated. Following antibiotic treatment, the most common treat
Engineer a Coin Sorter
Students learn about the engineering design process and how it is used to engineer products for everyday use. Students individually brainstorm solutions for sorting coins and draw at least two design ideas. They work in small groups to combine ideas and build a coin sorter using common construction materials such as cardboard, tape, straws and fabric. Students test their coin sorters, make revisions and suggest ways to improve their designs. By designing, building, testing and improving coin sor
A Shot Under Pressure
Students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to find the water pressure in water guns. By measuring the range of the water jets, they are able to calculate the theoretical pressure. Students create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.
Test and Treat Before You Drink
Students learn about water quality testing (coliform bacteria, turbidity) and what is involved in basic water treatment designs. Biological, physical and chemical treatment processes are addressed, as well as physical and biological water quality testing, including testing for bacteria such as E.coli.
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.
How Far Does a Lava Flow Go?
While learning about volcanoes, magma and lava flows, students learn about the properties of liquid movement, coming to understand viscosity and other factors that increase and decrease liquid flow. They also learn about lava composition and its risk to human settlements.
Dam Pass or Fail
Students conduct Internet research to investigate the purpose and current functioning status of some of the largest dams throughout the world. They investigate the success or failure of eight dams and complete a worksheet. While researching the dams, they also gain an understanding of the scale of these structures by recording and comparing their reservoir capacities. Students come to understand that dams, like all engineered structures, have a finite lifespan and require ongoing maintenance and
How Much Water Do You Use?
Students keep track of their own water usage for one week, gaining an understanding of how much water is used for various everyday activities. They relate their own water usages to the average residents of imaginary Thirsty County, and calculate the necessary water capacity of a dam that would provide residential water to the community.
Repairing Broken Bones
Students learn about how biomedical engineers aid doctors in repairing severely broken bones. They learn about using pins, plates, rods and screws to repair fractures. They do this by designing, creating and testing their own prototype devices to repair broken turkey bones.
The students discover the basics of heat transfer in this activity by constructing a constant pressure calorimeter to determine the heat of solution of potassium chloride in water. They first predict the amount of heat consumed by the reaction using analytical techniques. Then they calculate the specific heat of water using tabulated data, and use this information to predict the temperature change. Next, the students will design and build a calorimeter and then determine its specific heat. After
Bone Fractures and Engineering
Students learn about the role engineers and engineering play in repairing severe bone fractures. They acquire knowledge about the design and development of implant rods, pins, plates, screws and bone grafts. They learn about materials science, biocompatibility and minimally-invasive surgery.
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.
Snow vs. Water
Engineers work in many fields associated with precipitation. Engineers study glaciers to better understand their dates of formation and current demise. They deal with issues of pollution transport and water yield, and they monitor reservoirs and dams to prevent flooding.
Shapes of Strength
Students are introduced to brainstorming and the design process in problem solving as it relates to engineering. They perform an activity to develop and understand problem solving with an emphasis on learning from history. Using only paper, straws, tape and paper clips, they create structures that can support the weight of at least one textbook. In their first attempt to build the structures, they build whatever comes to mind. For the second trial, they examine examples of successful buildings f
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.
A Magnetic Personality
Students learn about magnets and how they are formed. They investigate the properties of magnets and how engineers use magnets in technology. Specifically, students learn about magnetic memory storage, which is the reading and writing of data information using magnets, such as in computer hard drives, zip disks and flash drives.