Spring Away!
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
Author(s): VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineeri

Designing a Thermostat
Students investigate circuits and their components by building a basic thermostat. They learn why key parts are necessary for the circuit to function, and alter the circuit to optimize the thermostat temperature range. They also gain an awareness of how electrical engineers design circuits for the countless electronic products in our world.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Does Weight Matter?
Using the same method for measuring friction that was used in the previous lesson (Discovering Friction), students design and conduct an experiment to determine if weight added incrementally to an object affects the amount of friction encountered when it slides across a flat surface. After graphing the data from their experiments, students can calculate the coefficients of friction between the object and the surface it moved upon, for both static and kinetic friction.
Author(s): Engineering K-Ph.D. Program,

Analyze the Data
Students go through the logical process of quantitatively analyzing data from the FasTracks system. They gain experience identifying problems with the current design based upon their earlier observations and experiences in activities 1 and 2. Students discuss the flaws that they find in the system. This activity requires the use of the FasTracks Living Lab, a web portal to interactive train (transit) traffic data for a major metropolitan city.
Author(s): Teach Engineering Living Labs,

A quantitative illustration of how non-renewable resources are depleted while renewable resources continue to provide energy. The activity requires students to remove beads (units of energy) from a bag (representing a country). A certain number of beads are removed from the bag each “year.” At some point, no non-renewable beads remain. Groups of students have different ratios of renewable and non-renewable energy beads. A comparison of the remaining beads and time when they ran out of energy
Author(s): Office of Educational Partnerships,

Simple Machines
Through a five-lesson series with five hands-on activities, students are introduced to six simple machines - inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, pulley, wheel-and-axle - as well as compound machines, which are combinations of two or more simple machines. Once students understand about work (work = force x distance), they become familiar with the machines' mechanical advantages, and see how they make work easier. Through an introduction to compound machines, students begin to think critically ab
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Swing in Time
Students examine the motion of pendulums and come to understand that the longer the string of the pendulum, the fewer the number of swings in a given time interval. They see that changing the weight on the pendulum does not have an effect on the period. They also observe that changing the angle of release of the pendulum has negligible effect upon the period.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Graphing the Rainbow
Students are introduced to different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored “barcode” spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction grating acts like a prism, bending light into its component colors.
Author(s): Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP

Make Some Waves
In this activity, students use their own creativity (and their bodies) to make longitudinal and transverse waves. Through the use of common items, they will investigate the different between longitudinal and transverse waves.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Save Our City!
Students learn about various natural hazards and specific methods engineers use to prevent these hazards from becoming natural disasters. They study a hypothetical map of an area covered with natural hazards and decide where to place natural disaster prevention devices by applying their critical thinking skills and an understanding of the causes of natural disasters.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Two Sides of One Force
Students learn more about magnetism, and how magnetism and electricity are related in electromagnets. They learn the fundamentals about how simple electric motors and electromagnets work. Students also learn about hybrid gasoline-electric cars and their advantages over conventional gasoline-only-powered cars.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Trash Talkin’
Students collect, categorize, weigh and analyze classroom solid waste. The class collects waste for a week and then student groups spend a day sorting and analyzing the garbage with respect to recyclable and non-recyclable items. They discuss ways that engineers have helped to reduce the accumulation of solid waste.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Seismic Waves: How Earthquakes Move the Earth
Students learn about the types of seismic waves produced by earthquakes and how they move the Earth. The dangers of earthquakes are presented as well as the necessity for engineers to design structures for earthquake-prone areas that are able to withstand the forces of seismic waves. Students learn how engineers build shake tables that simulate the ground motions of the Earth caused by seismic waves in order to test the seismic performance of buildings.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Light Scavengers
Students examine various materials to investigate how they interact with light. They use five characteristics—translucency, transparency, opaqueness, reflectivity and refractivity—to describe how light interacts with the objects.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Nidy-Gridy
Normally we find things using landmark navigation. When you move to a new place, it may take you awhile to explore the new streets and buildings, but eventually you recognize enough landmarks and remember where they are in relation to each other. However, another accurate method for locating places and things is using grids and coordinates. In this activity, students will come up with their own system of a grid and coordinates for their classroom and understand why it is important to have one co
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Oceans, climate and weather
What is the difference between weather and climate? What do the oceans have to do with them? Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere and its short-term (minutes to weeks) variation. Climate is typically described by the regional patterns of seasonal temperature and precipitation over 30 years. The averages of annual temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, and depth of frost penetration are all typical climate-related statistics. The oceans influence the worlds climate by storing solar ener
Author(s): Kimberly Lightle

What is Energy?
With an introduction to the ideas of energy, students discuss specific types of energy and the practical sources of energy. Hands-on activities help them identify types of energy in their surroundings and enhance their understanding of energy.
Author(s): Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,

Problem Solving
Students are introduced to a systematic procedure for solving problems through a demonstration and then the application of the method to an everyday activity. The unit project is introduced to provide relevance to subsequent lessons.
Author(s): Office of Educational Partnerships,

We've Got the Power
In this lesson, students will research various sources of renewable energy. They will discover how each source can be used to generate electricity, the potential benefits and drawbacks of each and which source might best power their home or school. This lesson can be completed in 1-2 class periods.
Author(s): Molly Leifeld

Downhill Science: Alpine Skiing
The following resource is from Lessonopoly, which has created student activities and lesson plans to support the video series, Science of the Olympic Winter Games, created by NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation. Featuring exclusive footage from NBC Sports and contributions from Olympic athletes and NSF scientists, the series will help teach your students valuable scientific concepts. In this activity, students will explore the physics of alpine skiing by simulating a downhill run and r
Author(s): Creator not set