Books of the month: Young novelists
Two new novels, "The Tiger's Wife" and "Swamplandia!", explore death and grief through a delicious blend of fantasy and reality
Get the Word Out at McDonalds©!
Students will be asked to be part of a hypothetical scenario that challenges them to inform customers at a local restaurant of how their use and disposal of plastics relates/contributes to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). What they ultimately must do is to research information on the GPGP and place that information into a short, eye-catching newsletter that they can “hand out” to restaurant customers. This activity focuses on teaching students to gather their own additional informatio
Putting It All Together: Peripheral Vision
This activity will finally bring students to the point of writing the code to solve the Grand Challenge. Students will write their code in a derivative of C++ called QT. All code is listed in this lesson. This code will take the two images captured by the robots and combine them to create an image that can be focused at different distances, similar to the way that a human can focus either near or far.
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
While the creation of a dam provides many benefits, it can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. Students learn about the major environmental impacts of dams and the engineering solutions used to address them.
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 activity, students explore the effect of chemical erosion on statues and monuments. They use chalk to see what happens when limestone is placed in liquids with different pH values. They also learn several things that engineers are doing to reduce the effects of acid rain.
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
Rolling Blackouts & Environmental Impact – What are our Electricity Options?
The goal is for the students to understand the environmental design considerations required when generating electricity. The electric power that we use every day at home and work is generated by a variety of power plants. Power plants are engineered to utilize the conversion of one form of energy to another. The main components of a power plant are an input source of energy that is used to turn large turbines, and a method to convert the turbine rotation into electricity. The input sources of en
Heat It Up!
Through a teacher demonstration using water, heat and food coloring, students see how convection moves the energy of the Sun from its core outwards. Students learn about the three different modes of heat transfer (convection, conduction, radiation) and how they are related to the Sun and life on our planet.
Our Big Blue Marble
Students are introduced to the fabulous planet on which they live. Even though we spend our entire lives on Earth, we still do not always understand how it fits into the rest of the solar system. Students learn about the Earth’s position in the solar system and what makes it unique. They learn how engineers study human interactions with the Earth and design technologies and systems to monitor, use and care for our planet’s resources wisely to preserve life on Earth.
A Spectral Mystery
Students use the spectrograph from the “Building a Fancy Spectrograph” activity to gather data about light sources. Using their data, they make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source.
Sounds All Around
Students follow the steps of the engineering design process to create their own ear trumpet devices (used before modern-day hearing aids), including testing them with a set of reproducible sounds. They learn to recognize different pitches, and see how engineers must test designs and materials to achieve the best amplifying properties.
Students learn what causes hurricanes and what engineers do to help protect people from destruction caused by hurricane winds and rain. Research and data collection vessels allow for scientists and engineers to model and predict weather patterns and provide forecasts and storm warnings to the public. Engineers are also involved in the design and building of flood-prevention systems, such as levees and floodwalls. During the 2005 hurricane season, levees failed in the greater New Orleans area, co
Modern Day Pyramids
Students investigate the ways in which ancient technologies — six types of simple machines and combinations — are used to construct modern buildings. As they work together to solve a design problem (designing and building a modern structure), they brainstorm ideas, decide on a design, and submit it to a design review before acquiring materials to create it (in this case, a mural depicting it). Emphasis is placed on cooperative, creative teamwork and the steps of the engineering design proces
Students design and conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots will have decomposed completely.
Sliding and Stuttering
Students use a spring scale to drag an object such as a ceramic coffee cup along a table top or the floor. The spring scale allows them to measure the frictional force that exists between the moving cup and the surface it slides on. By modifying the bottom surface of the cup, students can find out what kinds of surfaces generate more or less friction.
Heredity Mix ’n Match
Students randomly select jelly beans (or other candy) that represent genes for several human traits such as tongue-rolling ability and eye color. Then, working in pairs (preferably of mixed gender), students randomly choose new pairs of jelly beans from those corresponding to their own genotypes. The new pairs are placed on toothpicks to represent the chromosomes of the couple’s offspring. Finally, students compare genotypes and phenotypes of parents and offspring for all the “couples” in
Built to Last?
In this activity, the students test the shelters they built in Lesson 3, Activity 1 for durability and water resistance.
Rocks, Rocks, Rocks
Student teams will test rocks to identify and record rock properties such as luster, hardness, color, etc., and classify rocks as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. They will complete a worksheet table with all of their rock properties, and then answer some worksheet questions to deepen their understanding of rock properties and relate them to the cavern design problem.