Kidney Filtering Elementary School Activity
Students filter different substances through a plastic window screen, different sized hardware cloth and poultry netting. Their models show how the thickness of a filter in the kidney is imperative in determining what is filtered out and what stays in the blood stream.
Prosthetic Party: Making New Legs (for Informal Learning) Middle School Sprinkle
Students design, build and test prosthetic legs.
Testing Model Structures: Jell-O Earthquake in the Classroom Elementary School Activity
Students make sense of the design challenges engineers face that arise from earthquake phenomena. Students work as engineering teams to explore concepts of how engineers design and construct buildings to withstand earthquake damage by applying elements of the engineering design process by building their own model structures using toothpicks and marshmallows. The groups design, build, and test their model buildings and then determine how earthquake-proof their designs are by testing them on an earthquake simulator pan of Jell-O®.
Bouncing Balls: Collisions, Momentum & Math (for High School) High School Activity
In this activity, students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces. Also, they will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to calculate momentum and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.
Stations of Light Elementary School Activity
Student groups rotate through four stations to examine light energy behavior: refraction, magnification, prisms and polarization. They see how a beam of light is refracted (bent) through various transparent mediums. While learning how a magnifying glass works, students see how the orientation of an image changes with the distance of the lens from its focal point. They also discover how a prism works by refracting light and making rainbows. And, students investigate the polar nature of light using sunglasses and polarized light film.
What's Inside Your Bones? Middle School Lesson
After learning, comparing and contrasting the steps of the engineering design process (EDP) and scientific method, students review the human skeletal system, including the major bones, bone types, bone functions and bone tissues, as well as other details about bone composition. Students then pair-read an article about bones and bone growth and compile their notes to summarize the article. Finally, students complete a homework assignment to review the major bones in the human body, preparing them for the associated activities in which they create and test prototype replacement bones with appropriate densities. Two PowerPoint® presentations, pre-/post-test, handout and worksheet are provided.
Tornado! Elementary School Lesson
Students learn about tornadoes - their basic characteristics, damage and occurrence. Students are introduced to the ways that engineers consider strong winds, specifically tornadoes, in their design of structures. Also, students learn how tornadoes are rated, and learn some basics of tornado safety.
An Introduction to Air Quality Research High School Lesson
This lesson conveys core information about why air quality is important and how engineers tackle complex environmental problems—providing a foundation for the subsequent five activities. Students learn the basics about the structure of the Earth’s atmosphere, the types of pollutants that are present in the atmosphere (primary, secondary, gas-phase compounds, particulate matter), and the importance of air quality research. They are also introduced to some engineering concepts such as how air quality measurements are made and how control technologies work. A PowerPoint® presentation, teacher slide notes, blank vocabulary list, post-lecture quiz, homework handout, and a pre-unit STEM survey are provided. This lesson and its five associated activities are intended to prepare and guide students to take on their own research projects.
Creating an Electromagnet Elementary School Activity
Student teams investigate the properties of electromagnets. They create their own small electromagnets and experiment with ways to change their strength to pick up more paperclips. Students learn about ways that engineers use electromagnets in everyday applications.
Creating Model Working Lungs: Just Breathe Elementary School Activity
Students explore the inhalation/exhalation process that occurs in the lungs during respiration. Using everyday materials, each student team creates a model pair of lungs.
Designing Bridges Middle School Lesson
Students learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. They learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges by conducting their own hands on associated activity to prototype their own structure. Students will begin to understand the problem, and learn how to determine the potential bridge loads, calculate the highest possible load, and calculate the amount of material needed to resist the loads.
Element, Mixture, Compound High School Activity
Students gain a better understanding of the different types of materials as pure substances and mixtures and learn to distinguish between homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures by discussing an assortment of example materials they use and encounter in their daily lives.
Solving Everyday Problems Using the Engineering Design Cycle Middle School Activity
Students are introduced to two real-life problems that can be solved by using the engineering design process. For the first one, they follow along with a slide presentation that describes how a group of students built an organizer to help organize their teacher’s desk. The presentation introduces students to the key steps in the engineering design process. Next, in discussion groups, they read through a scenario in which middle school student Marisol struggles to keep their locker organized. They read the case study together, stopping and discussing at key points to share ideas and consider Marisol’s progress as they moves through the engineering design cycle to design and implement a solution. As an optional hands-on activity extension, students construct their own locker organizer using scrap materials. This introduction to the engineering design process sets up students to be able to conduct their own real-world design projects. A case study handout, group leader discussion sheet and slide presentation are provided.
Introduction to Genetic Engineering and Its Applications High School Lesson
Students learn how engineers apply their understanding of DNA to manipulate specific genes to produce desired traits, and how engineers have used this practice to address current problems facing humanity. They learn what genetic engineering means and examples of its applications, as well as moral and ethical problems related to its implementation. Students fill out a flow chart to list the methods to modify genes to create GMOs and example applications of bacteria, plant and animal GMOs.
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