Grade Level: 4 (3-5)
Choose From: 6 lessons and 6 activities
Subject Areas: Science and Technology
SummaryStudents are introduced to the basic principles behind engineering and the types of engineering while learning about an always-popular topic—the Olympics. The involvement of engineering in modern sports is amazing and pervasive. Students learn about the techniques of engineering problem solving, including brainstorming and the engineering design process. The importance of thinking out of the box is stressed through a discussion of the engineering required to build grand, often complex, Olympic event centers. Students review what they know about kinetic and potential energy as they investigate the design of energy-absorbing materials, relating this to the design of lighter, faster and stronger sports equipment to improve athletic performance and protect athletes. Students consider states of matter and material properties as they see the role of chemical engineering in the Olympics. Students also learn about transportation and the environment, and the relationship between architecture and engineering.
Working in teams, engineers approach creative problem-solving by using the techniques of brainstorming and following the cyclical steps of engineering design process. Engineers are challenged to think "outside of the box" as they envision, design and create complex projects, structures, products, materials and processes. Engineers are intimately involved in transportation, the environment, architecture, sports—and really everything in our human-made world.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN),
a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics;
within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
See individual lessons and activities for standards alignment.
- Day 1: Olympic Engineering: Design Process to Create Competition Venues lesson
- Day 2: History and Testing Shapes of Strength for Buildings activity
- Day 3: Transportation and the Environment: Energy, Fuels and Emissions lesson
- Day 4-5: Cars from the Future: Presenting Your Eco-Friendly Design Ideas activity
- Day 6-7: Architects and Engineers: Working Together to Design Structures lesson
- Day 8-9: Requirements & Constraints: Making Model Parking Garages activity
- Day 10: Engineering in Sports: Energy Transfer in Athletic Gear lesson
- Day 11: Bumps and Bruises in Sports: Protect Your Egg activity
- Day 12: Chemical Wonders: Materials and States of Matter lesson
- Day 13: Solid, Liquid or Gas? Material Identification Using Five Senses activity
- Day 14: Homeward Bound: Engineers in Action Everywhere lesson
- Day 15: Communication Skills: Making Engineering Types Flyers & Quizzes activity
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More Curriculum Like This
The Olympics are introduced as the unit theme by describing the engineering required to build grand and complex event centers. Then students are introduced to the techniques of engineering problem solving, specifically brainstorming and the steps of the engineering design process.
Imagining themselves arriving at the Olympics gold medal soccer game in Rio, Brazil, 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 mate...
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ContributorsSee individual lessons and activities.
Supporting ProgramIntegrated Teaching and Learning Program and Laboratory, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
This digital library content was developed under grants from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (GK-12 grant no 0338326). However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Last modified: August 3, 2021