And the Award Goes to… Elementary School Activity
Published on November 16, 2022
Who was Alfred Nobel, why is a prize named after him, and why they are given out? In this activity, students learn about this prestigious award and the types of people who receive them. Students then design and create a structure that can hold and display the Nobel Prize (or a medal similar in weight (200 g) and diameter (66 mm). Students research the specifications of the Nobel Prize and then research different materials engineers might use to build a structure like this. Students act as engineers as they test and re-test different types of structures to determine which one displays the medal the best. Findings are shared with each other via group presentations.
Algae Blooms Takeover! Elementary School Activity
Published on November 10, 2022
Algae blooms are a visible phenomenon that affect coastlines and other waterways and can harm local ecosystems. In this activity, students make sense of what causes algae blooms and then design a prototype that helps clean algae blooms. Students work in teams to design a prototype of their choice (for example, a skimmer or filtration system) using common everyday materials. Students make the connection between harmful algae blooms and how they can affect the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as food chain.
Engineering a Milkweed Seed Trap Elementary School Activity
Published on October 27, 2022
After watching a milkweed seed pod dispersing its seeds and observing how messy and difficult it is to ‘catch’ the seeds, students use recycled materials to create a way to separate the seeds from the parachute. Students then package the seeds for delivery and share them with other classes, along with information on why we need to plant milkweed seeds.
Engineering an Improved Medical Delivery System High School Activity
Published on October 22, 2022
Students investigate cancer treatments and what current techniques are used to help cancer patients. Students are introduced to an actual cancer patient to help them think about how they can help improve the quality of life for a cancer patient during treatment. The students learn what a treatment plan entails as well as how the medications need to be administered. Using the engineering design process, students develop and/or enhance a delivery system. Students use the engineering design process to design an effective system that can deliver medication(s) to the human circulatory system. Specifically looking at cancer treatments, students must weigh the needs of the patient with the needs of the medical team as they research, brainstorm and develop innovative ways of accessing the circulatory system numerous times with numerous medications. As students build, test and redesign their delivery systems, they must think critically about what materials to use and where on the human body to deliver the medication. In addition, students must account for the rate the medications will enter the circulatory system, the velocity of the circulatory system, as well as the diameter of the different vessels. When testing their delivery system students will need to measure the flow rate of the medications and determine the correct diameter of tubing needed along with the different velocities of various medications.
Engineering a Hydroponic System to Feed a Class! High School Activity
Published on October 13, 2022
The world population will reach 10 billion by the year 2050. As the number of people increase, so does the demand for proper housing and food. Since both demands require land, competition between the two creates a land scarcity. New methods of farming need to be created to alleviate the land scarcity and to increase the current food production. Hydroponics has the potential to reduce land usage and to keep up with the demands of the growing population. In this activity, students will explore what it means to brainstorm and sketch potential models for a hydroponics system for their school. They will explore the usefulness of each prototype and work as a team to come up with a solution to this problem and make sense of the tools engineers use to help mitigate land and water scarcity problems.
Mission Possible - The Voltaic Protocol High School Activity
Published on October 11, 2022
Today’s world sees a critical need for self-sustaining battery power. As society becomes more reliant upon renewable energy, there is an increased demand to create and obtain new forms of self-sustaining power. One of the most common forms of renewable energy in use today consist of rechargeable batteries that operate through a series of chemical reactions. These types of reactions can be reproduced by creating a voltaic cell powered by an oxidation-reduction reaction. For this activity, students work in small groups to complete the following objective: Students design an electrochemical cell powered by redox reactions that will successfully generate enough electrical current to power a series of light bulbs or similar structures/devices.
Light Up Your Machines with Biomimicry! Middle School Activity
Published on September 30, 2022
In this activity, students explore different forms of energy such as mechanical, electrical, light, thermal and sound energy and how these energies are converted or change from one form to another. Student work together to build a prototype device of their choice that includes electrical circuitry. They then use biomimicry to add warnings, instructions, and/or signals to their prototype that can be seen in the dark on the road, on the water, in air, or in space.
Engineering a Water Bottle Holder for Student Desks Elementary School Activity
Published on September 28, 2022
Students solve a real-world problem: How to design a water bottle holder to keep desktops clean and dry? Condensation is a phenomenon encountered in everyday life. In school, we frequently experience this phenomenon as a messy wet area under our water bottles that makes our papers soggy! Students use the engineering design process to work together to brainstorm, sketch, and build a prototype water bottle holder that can attach to the leg of the desk or chair. Students test their designs for usability, durability, and cost-effectiveness, then redesign to make improvements to their product.
Exploring Bioluminescence in Aquatic Animals Middle School Activity
Published on September 16, 2022
Some of the world’s most fascinating organisms emit their own light through bioluminescence—which is typically generated by a light-emitting molecule and a specific type of enzyme. Animals might use bioluminescence to signal, attract prey, or attract mates. In this activity, students make sense of how organisms emit light using bioluminescence and how these phenomena can increase organisms’ survival rate in harsh environments. Through the engineering design process, students create their own bioluminescent organism using ultraviolet light and fluorescent materials to help their organism either warn and evade predators, lure and detect prey, or communicate between members of the same species.
Engineering a Photocatalytic Delivery System High School Maker Challenge
Published on August 18, 2022
Materials that absorb light are useful in engineering design, especially if they can be in place of chemicals. In this maker challenge, students are tasked with using a photocatalyst—a material which provide energy through light absorption and makes a substance react—to rid stagnant water sources of organic pollutants such as algae. Student teams engineer an application method for delivering photocatalysts to water surfaces, such as pools, ponds, and other water sources. Students will also consider the use of photocatalysts in a variety of settings and how useful they might be in their own communities.
Carbon Emissions: Pardon My Carbon! Elementary School Activity
Published on July 1, 2022
Introduce students to the concepts of climate change and how cars can contribute to it. In this activity, students work together to understand how various forms of transportation have costs and benefits, and which modes of transportation are better for the environment by making decisions for a commuter.
Climate Change and Cars (3-5) Elementary School Lesson
Published on July 1, 2022
This lesson introduces students to the concepts of climate change and how cars can contribute to climate change. Students learn the basics of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. They also learn how transportation affects our atmosphere. Students work together to understand how various forms of transportation have costs and benefits, and which modes of transportation are better for the environment.
Carbon Emissions: Carl’s Carbon! Elementary School Activity
Published on June 30, 2022
This activity introduces students to the concepts of climate change and what affects it. Students work together to understand how various forms of transportation have costs and benefits, and which modes of transportation are better for the environment.
Climate Change and Cars (K-2) Elementary School Lesson
Published on June 30, 2022
This lesson introduces students to the concepts of climate change and what affects it. By the end of the lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, global warming, and how transportation can contribute to global warming. Students work together to understand how various forms of transportation have costs and benefits, and which modes of transportation are better for the environment.
Air Quality and Weather Connections Elementary School Activity
Published on June 30, 2022
Students will explore the pattern between air pollution levels and weather conditions in this activity. Students work together to learn about the color-coded Air Quality Index (AQI) chart that describes levels of air pollution for two main transportation-sourced air pollutants—particulate matter (PM) and ozone—and action to take on high pollution days. Student teams design a Wind Streamer, a prototype for collecting particulate matter (PM) particles outdoors. Over a period of 1-week or more, student teams will record daily particulate matter (PM) and ozone levels using AirNow.gov and weather conditions (wind speed, wind direction data, air temperature) using and Weather.gov at their school location (or nearest town or city). When finished collecting data, the class will analyze the data to see if a pattern exists between air pollution levels and weather conditions. They will also compare the relative AREN Wind Streamer data with the AirNow.gov and Weather.gov data. Ways to stay safe on high air pollution days are also presented.