Recently Added Curriculum

Displaying recently added curriculum of grade level and type

preview of 'To Infinity and Beyond: The Amazing Hydrogels' Activity

To Infinity and Beyond: The Amazing Hydrogels High School Activity

Published on September 21, 2023

This activity provides students with the background necessary to understand chelation—a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions—to create hydrogels. During the activity, students use sodium alginate, an extract from brown seaweed, to create hydrogels. By using alginate-based compounds (in other words, compounds extracted from brown algae), these hydrogels are also nontoxic and non-inflammatory. All these properties make the alginates ideal for applications in pharmaceuticals, wound care, hygiene, and optometry.

preview of 'Recycle Home Toilet Water' Activity

Recycle Home Toilet Water High School Activity

Published on August 30, 2023

Fresh water is a limited and valuable natural resource, and engineers play a key role in designing systems that provide fresh water to everyone. In this activity, students learn about water conservation and how water is cycled naturally on Earth and through the wastewater management system. Using parts of the engineering design process, students design a system that allows blackwater to be recycled at the place of use (for example, near a toilet or home as opposed to at a wastewater treatment plant. Students then explain how this recycled water could then be reused as effluent toilet water.

preview of 'Roll ‘n’ Roller Coaster' Activity

Roll ‘n’ Roller Coaster Elementary School Activity

Published on August 25, 2023

Roller coasters are one of the most thrilling ways to feel engineering in action! In this activity, students act as mechanical, civil, and structural engineers as they design and build a roller coaster with their teammates that allows a table tennis ball to roll through the entire model unassisted. As students design and build their roller coaster, they will learn about kinetic and potential energy. Students explain that when the ball is placed at the top of the ramp, it has potential energy (stored energy). Once the ball is released, the potential energy is changed into kinetic energy (energy of motion). Students also identify the role that friction plays in stopping the ball. As students experience the engineering design process and create multiple iterations of their design, they will discover the key to allow the table tennis ball to gain enough momentum to cycle through the roller coaster unassisted is to create an initial slope that’s steep enough to allow the ball to cycle through.

preview of 'Gel Engineering' Activity

Gel Engineering Elementary School Activity

Published on August 24, 2023

Which properties of matter work best in a particular design? In this activity, students explore the physical properties of matter and experience the engineering design process by designing, creating, and testing gels. Their challenge is to design gels to exhibit a specific property of matter, such as magnetism, conductivity, or high density. In this collaborative, hands-on activity students become engineers who design their own gels as a team.

preview of 'Concrete Composites Lab' Activity

Concrete Composites Lab High School Activity

Published on August 24, 2023

Materials engineering allows for the design and testing of a variety of different properties so engineers can make decisions on the types of materials to use in a particular structure. In this activity, students create an assigned composite of cement by mixing the concrete with different percentages of black carbon and other material. They then test the physical and chemical properties of their composite to see what properties are improved by the addition of the black carbon. After the class data is collected and all the composites tested are compared to each other, the groups can improve their concrete composite by looking at the group data and re-testing to see if their changes resulted in improvements.

preview of 'Let’s Play: Accessible Toys for Visually Impaired Students' Activity

Let’s Play: Accessible Toys for Visually Impaired Students Middle School Activity

Published on August 18, 2023

By better understanding a specific type of disability through a cultural lens, students can better understand how to use the engineering design process to solve specific problems. In this activity, students research, brainstorm, and design a type of pre-braille (a type of braille that is used to introduce children at a young age) toy that is readily accessible to young students. They then create and test their toys while gaining information on what needs to be improved within their design through feedback provided by their classmates and teachers. To show understanding of the objective, students create a marketing poster explaining their findings and the use of their toy.

preview of 'Living Walls: Choosing a Location with Arduino' Activity

Living Walls: Choosing a Location with Arduino Middle School Activity

Published on August 17, 2023

Living walls or vertical gardens can elevate indoor spaces, improve aesthetics, and bring nature inside. But how do living walls after the surrounding environment? Is it possible that living walls can improve the atmosphere where they exist? In this activity, students use an Arduino Sensing Toolkit to monitor their environment. Students collect data on CO2, temperature, and relative humidity. They then apply this data to a real-world situation of adding a living wall to a specific location and justifying their answer with data.

preview of 'Clean Cooking Matters' Activity

Clean Cooking Matters High School Activity

Published on June 29, 2023

Lack of access to clean cooking affects two-thirds of the global population and disproportionately impacts women. Burn Design Lab in Vashon, WA partners with communities across the globe to design clean cooking technologies. In this activity, students will mimic their work by developing a prototype of a cookstove. They will, as engineers must, engage in human-centered design by tying scientific innovation to human needs, uses, resources, etc. The students will also learn how their work and that being done at Burn Design Lab meets three of the United Nations’ Sustainable Design Goals meant to make the world better. The students will start out working in groups to complete a pre-activity assessment. After that, they will engage in internet research which entails learning about the work done at Burn Design Lab, cookstoves, the UN Sustainable Design Goals, and life in Kenya. Then, they will sketch, plan, and make their prototype. After that, they will test their prototypes. Next, they will evaluate their data and that of their peers before redesigning and retesting their prototype. They will finish by completing a post-activity assessment. Though Kenya is studied in this activity, it can be applied to many different countries and communities.

preview of 'A Little Bit of Everything About 3D Printing' Activity

A Little Bit of Everything About 3D Printing High School Activity

Published on June 15, 2023

Through this approximately three-day activity, students learn about the different types of 3D printers. They focus on Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing, the parts of 3D printers, how to use CAD software (in particular, OnShape), and complete an engineering challenge (a hook to hold a mass) using 3D printing. There is some room for discussion and reflection on 3D printing at the end of the lesson. Teachers should have prerequisite knowledge of 3D printing and using CAD software (OnShape is used here). If they do not have this prerequisite knowledge, checking out some YouTube videos may be helpful.

preview of 'Atmospheric Distortion of Light (aka “Bubbles in the Air”)' Activity

Atmospheric Distortion of Light (aka “Bubbles in the Air”) High School Activity

Published on June 15, 2023

Image distortion from the atmosphere accounts for a real-world problem faced by engineers in a range of optical applications. In this activity. students do two kinesthetic activities to model how atmospheric turbulence causes light rays to refract on their way from the Sun or distant stars down to the surface of Earth, resulting in distorted or blurry images. Students then draw conclusions to generalize their observations and apply it to light rays traveling through other media of non-uniform density or temperature.

preview of 'Studying Brain Waves' Activity

Studying Brain Waves High School Activity

Published on June 8, 2023

Students expand their understanding of brain waves and the electroencephalogram (EEG). After learning about five different types of brain waves (delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma) and their associated characteristics and behaviors, students briefly learn about the electrocardiogram (ECG) and electromyogram (EMG) and their similarities to EEG. After reviewing the basics of brain waves, students are introduced to three mathematical techniques used to manipulate and examine EEG data: Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), Power Spectral Density (PSD), and bandpass filter. While they are not expected to learn about the mathematical details of these three tools, students are expected to know what each tool is used for in analyzing wave data. Students review and expand on their existing knowledge of brain waves and analysis methods while also learning how to identify abnormalities in brain waves and make educated guesses about the cause(s) of them.

preview of 'Operation Airdrop: Designing a Solution to Protect Cargo' Activity

Operation Airdrop: Designing a Solution to Protect Cargo Elementary School Activity

Published on May 9, 2023

Introduce students to engineering design through this unique scenario—an airdrop! In this activity, students design and build a mechanism that can airdrop food aid and supplies to a county (or country) that is cut off from access via land, due to a natural disaster. The small design teams must work together to create the equipment needed to keep the resources intact after the airdrop, using the techniques of an orb-weaver spider in their design that successfully transports the food once it has landed and present their findings.

preview of 'A Radish Home: Creating an Ideal Environment for Plants' Activity

A Radish Home: Creating an Ideal Environment for Plants Elementary School Activity

Published on May 9, 2023

Students explore the properties of different soil types to better understand how soil can also have an impact on plant life. As they learn about the different properties of soil, they will be able to create an environment using recycled materials to sprout a radish seed.

preview of 'Making Sense of Magnification and Designing Magnifiers' Activity

Making Sense of Magnification and Designing Magnifiers Elementary School Activity

Published on May 5, 2023

The hook-and-loop fastener (commonly known as Velcro) is a direct invention of an engineer! In this activity, students are shown a zoomed image of Velcro, and research what magnification is through videos and a read aloud. Students are presented a problem for which they need a magnifier. Students use the engineering design process to make a magnifier or a tool that magnifies their own piece of Velcro. Students test their design and record data.

preview of 'The Power in Prosthetics' Activity

The Power in Prosthetics Elementary School Activity

Published on April 4, 2023

Prosthetics are a unique combination of science and engineering that help create a better quality of life for those in need of artificial limbs. Students create a functional prosthetic hand that will be useful for day-to-day tasks. The prototype will need to include moveable fingers that bend to pick up a small Styrofoam cup, a large foam die, and a whiteboard eraser. Students will be paired into groups of two to begin planning, designing, and building their prototype. Each group will then test and evaluate their prototype by using it to pick up materials as listed above. Students will improve their prototype as needed.

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