In this activity, students determine their own eyesight and calculate what a good average eyesight value for the class would be. Students learn about technologies to enhance eyesight and how engineers play an important role in the development of these technologies.
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Students explore the interface between architecture and engineering. In the associated hands-on activity, students act as both architects and engineers by designing and building a small parking garage.
Students learn that dams do not last forever. Similar to other human-made structures, such as roads and bridges, dams require regular maintenance and have a finite lifespan. Many dams built during the 1930-70s, an era of intensive dam construction, have an expected life of 50-100 years. Due to inadequate maintenance and/or for environmental reasons, some of these dams will fail or be removed in the next 50 years. The engineers with Splash Engineering have an ethical obligation to remind Thirsty County of the maintenance and lifespan concerns associated with its dam.
In this activity, students learn about their heart rate and different ways it can be measured. Students construct a simple measurement device using clay and a toothpick, and then use this device to measure their heart rate under different circumstances (i.e., sitting, standing and jumping). Students make predictions and record data on a worksheet.
In this math activity, students conduct a strength test using modeling clay, creating their own stress vs. strain graphs, which they compare to typical steel and concrete graphs. They learn the difference between brittle and ductile materials and how understanding the strength of materials, especially steel and concrete, is important for engineers who design bridges and structures.
Students explore how tension and compression forces act on three different bridge types. Using sponges, cardboard and string, they create models of beam, arch and suspension bridges and apply forces to understand how they disperse or transfer these loads.
Students are presented with a brief history of bridges as they learn about the three main bridge types: beam, arch and suspension. They are introduced to two natural forces tension and compression common to all bridges and structures. Throughout history, and today, bridges are important for connecting people to resources, places and other people. Students become more aware of the variety and value of bridges around us in our everyday lives.
Athletes often wear protective gear to keep themselves safe in contact sports. In this spirit, students follow the steps of engineering design process as they design, build and test protective padding for an egg drop. Many of the design considerations surrounding egg drops are similar to sports equipment design. Watching the transformation of energy from potential to kinetic, observing the impact and working under material constraints introduces students to "sports engineering" and gives them a chance to experience some of the challenges engineers face in designing equipment to protect athletes.
In some cities, especially large cities such as Los Angeles or Mexico City, visible air pollution is a major problem, both for human health and the environment. A variety of sources contribute to air pollution, but personal vehicles account for one of the main sources. Though each car has relatively low emissions when compared to vehicles of the 1970s, there are so many more cars on the road now that their emissions play a large role in overall pollution. In this activity, students think about alternate ways to power a vehicle to reduce emissions. Student teams design an eco-friendly car using the engineering design process, and make a presentation to showcase their product.
Students are introduced to chemical engineering and learn about its many different applications. They are provided with a basic introduction to matter and its different properties and states. An associated hands-on activity gives students a chance to test their knowledge of the states of matter and how to make observations using their five senses: touch, smell, sound, sight and taste.
Students learn about the many types of expenses associated with building a bridge. Working like engineers, they estimate the cost for materials for a bridge member of varying sizes. After making calculations, they graph their results to compare how costs change depending on the use of different materials (steel vs. concrete). They conclude by creating a proposal for a city bridge design based on their findings.
Students learn how the force of water helps determine the size and shape of dams. They use clay to build models of four types of dams, and observe the force of the water against each type. They conclude by deciding which type of dam they, as Splash Engineering engineers, will design for Thirsty County.
While the creation of a dam provides many benefits, it can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. Students learn about the major environmental impacts of dams and the engineering solutions used to address them.
Students conduct Internet research to investigate the purpose and current functioning status of some of the largest dams throughout the world. They investigate the success or failure of eight dams and complete a worksheet. While researching the dams, they also gain an understanding of the scale of these structures by recording and comparing their reservoir capacities. Students come to understand that dams, like all engineered structures, have a finite lifespan and require ongoing maintenance and evaluation for their usefulness.
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. Students learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges: understanding the problem, determining the potential bridge loads, calculating the highest possible load, and calculating the amount of material needed to resist the loads.
The digestive system is amazing: it takes the foods we eat and breaks them into smaller components that our body can use for energy, cell repair and growth. This lesson introduces students to the main parts of the digestive system and how they interact. In addition, students learn about some of the challenges astronauts face when trying to eat in outer space.
In this activity, students squeeze a tennis ball to demonstrate the strength of the human heart. Working in teams, they think of ways to keep the heart beating if the natural mechanism were to fail. The goal of this activity is to get students to understand the strength and resilience of the heart.
Imagining themselves arriving at the Olympic gold medal soccer game in Beijing, students begin to think about how engineering is involved in sports. After a discussion of kinetic and potential energy, an associated hands-on activity gives students an opportunity to explore energy absorbing materials as they try to protect an egg from being crushed.
Students use wood, wax paper and oil to investigate the importance of lubrication between materials and to understand the concept of friction. Using wax paper and oil placed between pieces of wood, the function of lubricants between materials is illustrated. Students extend their understanding of friction to bones and joints in the skeletal system and become aware of what engineers can do to help reduce friction in the human body as well as in machines.
This lesson describes the major components and functions of the immune system and the role of engineers in keeping the body healthy (e.g., vaccinations and antibiotics, among other things). This lesson also discusses how an astronaut's immune system is suppressed during spaceflight due to stress and other environmental factors.
Students review information learned during the past five lessons and activities of the Introduction to Engineering unit. Working in teams, they create flyers and short quizzes about various types of engineering to share with the class and collect into a "Olympic Engineering Binder" for the class to keep.
Students explore the effects of regional geology on bridge foundation, including the variety of soil conditions found beneath foundations. They learn about shallow and deep foundations, as well as the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement.
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Provider Set:
- Christopher Valenti
- Denali Lander
- Denise W. Carlson
- Joe Friedrichsen
- Jonathan S. Goode
- Malinda Schaefer Zarske
- Natalie Mach
- Date Added:
This lesson describes how the circulatory system works, including the heart, blood vessels and blood. Students learn about the chambers and valves of the heart, the difference between veins and arteries, and the different components of blood. This lesson also covers the technology engineers have developed to repair the heart if it is damaged. Students also understand how the circulatory system is affected during spaceflight (e.g., astronauts lose muscle in their heart during space travel).
Students review the what they have learned throughout the five lessons in this unit. This includes a review of many types of engineers, reminding students of the various everyday products, structures and processes they design and create in our world.
Students learn the purpose of a fever in the body's immune system and how it protects the body against germs. The students continue to explore temperature by creating a model thermometer and completing a temperature conversion worksheet. They come to see how engineers are involved in designing helpful medical instruments such as thermometers.
Students keep track of their own water usage for one week, gaining an understanding of how much water is used for various everyday activities. They relate their own water usages to the average residents of imaginary Thirsty County, and calculate the necessary water capacity of a dam that would provide residential water to the community.
This lesson helps students explore the functions of the kidney and its place in the urinary system. Students learn how engineers design instruments to help people when kidneys are not functioning properly or when environmental conditions change, such as kidney function in space.
In this activity, students filter different substances through a plastic window screen, different sized hardware cloth and poultry netting. Their model shows how the thickness of a filter in the kidney is imperative in deciding what will be filtered out and what will stay within the blood stream.
Students take a hands-on look at the design of bridge piers (columns). First they brainstorm types of loads that might affect a Colorado bridge. Then they determine the maximum possible load for that scenario, and calculate the cross-sectional area of a column designed to support that load. Choosing from clay, foam or marshmallows, they create model columns and test their calculations.
Students are introduced to the structure, function and purpose of locks and dams, which involves an introduction to Pascal's law, water pressure and gravity.
Students learn about the unique challenges astronauts face while eating in outer space. They explore different food choices and food packaging. Students learn about the engineering design process, and then, as NASA engineering teams, they design and build original model devices to help astronauts eat in a microgravity environment --- their own creative devices for food storage and meal preparation.
This lesson covers the topic of muscles. Students learn about the three different types of muscles in the human body and the effects of microgravity on muscles. Students also learn how astronauts need to exercise in order to lessen muscle atrophy in space. Students discover what types of equipment engineers design to help the astronauts exercise while in space.
This activity helps students learn about the three different types of muscles and how outer space affects astronauts' muscles. They will discover how important it is for astronauts to get adequate exercise both on Earth and in outer space. Also, through the design of their own microgravity exercise machine, students learn about the exercise machines that engineers design specifically for astronaut use.
This lesson describes the function and components of the human nervous system. It helps students understand the purpose of our brain, spinal cord, nerves and the five senses. How the nervous system is affected during spaceflight is also discussed in this lesson.
The lesson begins by introducing Olympics as the unit theme. The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the techniques of engineering problem solving. Specific techniques covered in the lesson include brainstorming and the engineering design process. The importance of thinking out of the box is also stressed to show that while some tasks seem impossible, they can be done. This introduction includes a discussion of the engineering required to build grand, often complex, Olympic event centers.
This lesson covers the topic of human bones and joints. Students learn about the skeleton, the number of and types of bones in the body, and how outer space affects astronauts' bones. Students also learn how to take care of their bones here on Earth to prevent osteoporosis or weakening of the bones.
This lesson goes over the parts of the human respiratory system and the gas exchange process that occurs in the lungs. It also covers changes in the respiratory system that occur during spaceflight, such as decreased lung capacity.
The difference between an architect and an engineer is sometimes confusing because their roles in building design can be similar. Students experience a bit of both professions by following a set of requirements and meeting given constraints as they create a model parking garage. They experience the engineering design process first-hand as they design, build and test their models. They draw a blueprint for their design, select the construction materials and budget their expenditures. They also test their structures for strength and find their maximum loads.
Students investigate the critical nature of foundations as they learn differences between shallow and deep foundations, including the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement. Using models representing a shallow foundation and a deep pile foundation, they test, see and feel the effects in a cardboard box test bed composed of layers of pebbles, soil and sand. They also make bearing pressure calculations and recommendations for which type of foundations to use in various engineering scenarios.
Students are introduced to brainstorming and the design process in problem solving as it relates to engineering. They perform an activity to develop and understand problem solving with an emphasis on learning from history. Using only paper, straws, tape and paper clips, they create structures that can support the weight of at least one textbook. In their first attempts to build the structures, they build whatever comes to mind. For the second trial, they examine examples of successful buildings from history and try again.