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What Is the Best Insulator: Air, Styrofoam, Foil or Cotton?

That heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the proces...
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4 (3-5) Activity 8453
Physics of Roller Coasters

Students explore the physics exploited by engineers in designing today's roller coasters, including potential and kinetic energy, friction and gravity. First, they learn that all true roller coasters ...
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7 (7-9) Lesson 6061
Potato Power

Students use potatoes to light an LED clock (or light bulb) as they learn how a battery works in a simple circuit and how chemical energy changes to electrical energy. As they learn more about electri...
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4 (3-5) Activity 5861
Earthquake in the Classroom

Students learn how engineers construct buildings to withstand damage from earthquakes by building their own structures with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students test how earthquake-proof their buildings are by testing them on an earthquake simulated in a pan of Jell-O®. 5 (3-5) Activity 5308
What to Wear? What to Drink? Weather Patterns and Climatic Regions

How does our climate affect us? How do we decide what to wear each day? What factors determine if our clothing choices are comfortable? What is the source of our water? Students explore characteristic...
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4 (3-5) Lesson 5148
Strength of Materials

Students learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and ...
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8 (6-8) Lesson 4593
Building Roller Coasters

Students build their own small-scale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions ...
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7 (7-9) Activity 4551
Engineering: Simple Machines

Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines — the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, ...
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4 (3-5) Lesson 4471
Straw Bridges

Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a t...
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8 (6-8) Activity 4275
Kinetic and Potential Energy of Motion

In this lesson, students are introduced to both potential energy and kinetic energy as forms of mechanical energy. A hands-on activity demonstrates how potential energy can change into kinetic energy ...
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8 (7-9) Lesson 3860
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