Science is the essential backbone to figuring out how our world works through prediction and explanations. Engineers apply science and use scientific concepts to help develop solutions to everyday problems and challenges.
Engineering plays an integral role in our daily lives from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Your digital alarm clock, the breakfast you eat, the clean water you drink, the clothes you wear, the medicine you take, the car you drive, and the light you turn off at the end of the day–all are available courtesy of engineers that used their knowledge of science to make the world we know today.
Science is one of the most significant channels of human learning and serves many functions that benefit our society. It helps establish new knowledge, improves education and enhances the quality of our lives.
Science can be classified into five disciplines: biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics, and earth and space. Each discipline holds vital information that helps engineers develop new technologies and innovations.Biology
Biology is the study of life and living organisms. Biological engineers apply various biological systems to help them modify, enhance or otherwise improve upon current engineering challenges.Chemistry
Chemistry is the study of the behavior and properties of matter and the natural laws that govern them. Chemical engineers apply the properties of substances and the changes they undergo to help them develop and design chemical manufacturing processes.Environmental Science
Environmental science explores the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical components and natural phenomena of ecosystems. Environmental engineers apply their understanding of how humans interact with the environment to develop solutions for environmental problems and find ways to live more sustainably.Physics
Physics is the study of how the universe works, from subatomic particles to universe scales. Physics explores the fundamental laws and properties that govern time, space, energy, matter, force and motion. Civil and mechanical engineers use physics to design structures, machines and engines that are physically sound.Earth and Space
Earth and space is the study of our planet and the solar system; it explores the interconnections between the ocean, land, atmosphere and life on Earth. Aerospace engineers apply their understanding of earth and space to develop technologies for use in aviation and spacecraft.
Our hands-on resources help students make sense of all the different disciplines of science, and applying science through engineering encourages students to dive deeper into their understanding of how science and engineering make the world a better place!
Empower your students to engage with all things science through our hands-on, design-based resources from TeachEngineering featured here, by grade band.
- How High Can a Super Ball Bounce? How High Can a Super Ball Bounce?
Students determine the coefficient of restitution (or the elasticity) for super balls. Working in pairs, they drop balls from a meter height and determine how high they bounce. They measure, record and repeat the process to gather data to calculate average bounce heights and coefficients of elastici...
- Soil from Spoiled: Engineering a Compost Habitat for Worms Soil from Spoiled: Engineering a Compost Habitat for Worms
A unique activity for young learners that combines engineering and biology, students design an optimal environment for red wiggler worms in a compost bin.
- Bacteria! It’s Everywhere! Bacteria! It’s Everywhere!
Students investigate what causes them to become sick during the school year. They use the engineering design process to test the classroom lab spaces for bacteria. After their tests, they develop ideas to control the spread of germs within the classroom.
- Sink or Float? Engineering Solutions for a Sticky Situation Sink or Float? Engineering Solutions for a Sticky Situation
In this activity, students build a road out of Jell-O that is sturdy enough to drive a toy car across without sinking. Using the full engineering design process, students research and choose available ingredients that will support their car.
- Super Slime Engineering Super Slime Engineering
Students apply engineering skills to engineer the best slime! Beginning with a given recipe, students make slime, observe it, and then decide on what and how they want to improve it (for example, stickier, less sticky, etc.) Students then make their updated slime by implementing the changes they wan...
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- Swinging with Style Swinging with Style
Students experientially learn about the characteristics of a simple physics phenomenon — the pendulum — by riding on playground swings. They use pendulum terms and a timer to experiment with swing variables. They extend their knowledge by following the steps of the engineering design process to desi...
- Modeling and Testing Physical Properties of Slime Modeling and Testing Physical Properties of Slime
An exploration of an engineering brief from a mock toy company leads students to explore a new slime with a unique set of characteristics. Using simple directions, students create five different types of slime and classify their slime properties against the criteria provided by the mock toy company....
- Wind Makes the Wheels Go ‘Round Wind Makes the Wheels Go ‘Round
Students learn how engineers use alternative and renewable resources in the design of a prototype for a wind powered car. Using the engineering design process, students identify the problem, brainstorm solutions, plan a design, create and test a prototype, and make improvements to their wind powered...
- Creating Model Working Lungs: Just Breathe Creating Model Working Lungs: Just Breathe
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.
- Waterwheel Work: Energy Transformations and Rotational Rates Waterwheel Work: Energy Transformations and Rotational Rates
Students learn the history of the waterwheel and common uses for water turbines today. They explore kinetic energy by creating their own experimental waterwheel from a two-liter plastic bottle. They investigate the transformations of energy involved in turning the blades of a hydro-turbine into work...
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- Saltwater Circuit Saltwater Circuit
Students build a saltwater circuit, which is an electrical circuit that uses saltwater as part of the circuit. Students investigate the conductivity of saltwater, and develop an understanding of how the amount of salt in a solution impacts how much electrical current flows through the circuit.
- Building Roller Coasters 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 between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects to design roller coasters that are compl...
- Design and Build a Rube Goldberg Design and Build a Rube Goldberg
In this two-part activity, students design and build Rube Goldberg machines. This open-ended challenge employs the engineering design process and may have a pre-determined purpose, such as rolling a marble into a cup from a distance, or let students decide the purposes.
- Red Cabbage Chemistry Red Cabbage Chemistry
Students take advantage of the natural ability of red cabbage juice to perform as a pH indicator to test the pH of seven common household liquids. Like environmental engineers working on water remediation or water treatment projects, understanding the chemical properties (including pH) of contaminan...
- Bubbling Plants Experiment to Quantify Photosynthesis Bubbling Plants Experiment to Quantify Photosynthesis
Students learn a simple technique for quantifying the amount of photosynthesis that occurs in a given period of time, using a common water plant (Elodea). They use this technique to compare the amounts of photosynthesis that occur under conditions of low and high light levels.
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- Reaction Exposed: The Big Chill! Reaction Exposed: The Big Chill!
In the presence of water, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) react to form sodium citrate, water, and carbon dioxide. Students investigate this endothermic reaction. They test a stoichiometric version of the reaction followed by testing various perturbations on the stoichiometric v...
- Bacteria Transformation Bacteria Transformation
Students construct paper recombinant plasmids to simulate the methods genetic engineers use to create modified bacteria. They learn what role enzymes, DNA and genes play in the modification of organisms.
- Projectile Motion Projectile Motion
Students use tabletop-sized robots to build projectile throwers and measure motion using sensors. They compute distances and velocities using simple kinematic equations and confirm their results through measurements by hand. To apply the concept, students calculate the necessary speed of an object t...
- Measuring Viscosity Measuring Viscosity
Students calculate the viscosity of various household fluids by measuring the amount of time it takes marble or steel balls to fall given distances through the liquids. They experience what viscosity means, and also practice using algebra and unit conversions.
- Paper Circuits Greeting Cards Paper Circuits Greeting Cards
Create a sure-to-impress flashing birthday card or design a light-up Christmas card—all with paper circuits! In this activity, students are guided through the process to create simple paper circuitry using only copper tape, a coin cell battery, a light-emitting diode (LED) and small electronic compo...
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