In this lesson, students expand their understanding of solid waste management to include the idea of 3RC (reduce, reuse, recycle and compost). They will look at the effects of packaging decisions (reducing) and learn about engineering advancements in packaging materials and solid waste management. Also, they will observe biodegradation in a model landfill (composting).
In this activity, students explore the effect of chemical erosion on statues and monuments. They use chalk to see what happens when limestone is placed in liquids with different pH values. They also learn several things that engineers are doing to reduce the effects of acid rain.
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.
When we look at the night sky, we see stars and the nearby planets of our own solar system. Many of those stars are actually distant galaxies and glowing clouds of dust and gases called nebulae. The universe is an immense space with distances measured in light years. The more we learn about the universe beyond our solar system, the more we realize we do not know. Students are introduced to the basic known facts about the universe, and how engineers help us explore the many mysteries of space.
Students are introduced to our Sun as they explore its composition, what is happening inside it, its relationship to our planet (our energy source), and the ways engineers help us learn about it.
Students will make a proportional model of blood out of red gelatin, a plastic bag, and rice. They will learn about the different components that make up blood and will investigate what happens when the arteries and veins experience buildup from cholesterol. They will then work in pairs to brainstorm ways to clean our clogged arteries.
Students use their knowledge of tornadoes and damage. The students will work in groups to design a structure that will withstand and protect people from tornadoes. Each group will create a poster with the name of their engineering firm and a picture of their structure. Finally, each group will present their posters to the class.
Students analyze international oil consumption and production data. They make several graphs to organize the data and draw conclusions about the overall use of oil in the world.
Students explore the concept of biodegradability by building and observing model landfills to test the decomposition of samples of everyday garbage items. They collect and record experiment observations over five days, seeing for themselves what happens to trash when it is thrown "away" in a landfill environment. This shows them the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable and serves to introduce them to the idea of composting. Students also learn about the role of engineering in solid waste management.
Students learn about using renewable energy from the Sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. They explore the concepts of insulation, reflection, absorption, conduction and convection.
Students learn the meaning of preservation and conservation and identify themselves and others as preservationists or conservationists in relation to specific environmental issues. They use Venn diagrams to clarify the similarities and differences in viewpoints. They see how an environmental point-of-view affects the approach to an engineering problem.
As a class, students work through an example showing how DNA provides the "recipe" for making our body proteins. They see how the pattern of nucleotide bases (adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine) forms the double helix ladder shape of DNA, and serves as the code for the steps required to make genes. They also learn some ways that engineers and scientists are applying their understanding of DNA in our world.
Students acquire a basic understanding of the science and engineering of space travel as well as a brief history of space exploration. They learn about the scientists and engineers who made space travel possible and briefly examine some famous space missions. Finally, they learn the basics of rocket science (Newton's third law of motion), the main components of rockets and the U.S. space shuttle, and how engineers are involved in creating and launching spacecraft.
In this activity, students investigate different methods (aeration and filtering) for removing pollutants from water. They will design and build their own water filters.
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.
This activity is a teacher-led demonstration of continental drift and includes a math worksheet for students involving the calculation of continental drift over time. Students will understand what continental drift is, why it occurs, and how earthquakes occur because of it.
Students learn about the structure of the earth and how an earthquake happens. In one activity, students make a model of the earth including all of its layers. In a teacher-led demonstration, students learn about continental drift. In another activity, students create models demonstrating the different types of faults.
Students learn how engineers construct buildings to withstand damage from earthquakes by building their own structures with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students test how earthquake-proof their buildings are by testing them on an earthquake simulated in a pan of Jell-O(TM).
Students learn the two main methods to measure earthquakes, the Richter Scale and the Mercalli Scale. They make a model of a seismograph a measuring device that records an earthquake on a seismogram. Students also investigate which structural designs are most likely to survive an earthquake. And, they illustrate an informational guide to the Mercalli Scale.
In this activity, students create a "web" to identify and demonstrate the interactions among the living and non-living parts of an environment. This information allows students to better understand what an environment is and to also consider how engineers use teamwork to solve problems.
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.
In this activity, students are introduced to faults. They will learn about different kinds of faults and understand their relationship to earthquakes. The students will build cardboard models of the three different types of faults as they learn about how earthquakes are formed.
This lesson introduces students to the concepts of air pollution and technologies that have been developed by engineers to reduce air pollution. Students develop an understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, construction of simple particulate matter collectors and by exploring engineering roles related to air pollution. Next, students develop awareness and understanding of the daily air quality and trends in air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI) listed in the newspaper. Finally, students build and observe a variety of simple models in order to develop an understanding of how engineers use these technologies to clean up and prevent air pollution.
This lesson introduces the ways that engineers study and harness the wind. Students will learn about the different kinds of winds and how to measure wind direction. In addition, students will learn how air pressure creates winds and how engineers build and test wind turbines to harness energy from wind.
In this lesson, students investigate sources of fossil fuels, particularly oil. Students will learn how engineers and scientists look for oil by taking core samples from a model of the Earth. Also, students will explore and analyze oil consumption and production in the United States and around the world.
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).
Through a teacher demonstration using water, heat and food coloring, students see how convection moves the energy of the Sun from its core outwards. Students learn about the three different modes of heat transfer (convection, conduction, radiation) and how they are related to the Sun and life on our planet.
In this lesson, students will learn about types of land use by humans and evaluate the ways land is used in their local community. They will also consider the environmental effects of the different types of land use. Students will assume the role of community planning engineers and will create a future plan for their community. (Note: Teachers will need to check out the following book from the local or school library: Durell, Ann, Craighead George, Jean, and Paterson, Katherine. The Big Book For Our Planet, New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1993).
In this activity, students will simulate the equal and unequal distribution of our renewable resources. Also, they will consider the impact of our increasing population upon these resources and how engineers develop technologies to create resources.
Students are introduced to the concept of an environment and the interactions within it through written and hands-on webbing activities. They also learn about environmental engineering careers and the roles of these engineers in our society.
While building and testing model rockets fueled by antacid tablets, students are introduced to the basic physics concepts on how rockets work. Students revise and improve their initial designs. Note: This activity is similar to the elementary-level film canister rockets activity, but adapted for middle school students.
Students will brainstorm ways that they use and waste natural resources. Also, they will respond to some facts about population growth and how people use petroleum. Lastly, students will consider the different ways that engineers interact with and use our natural resources.
In this activity, students will conduct a survey to identify the environmental issues (in their community, their country and the world) for which people are concerned. They will tally and graph the results. Also, students will discuss how surveys are important when engineers make decisions about environmental issues.
In this activity, students will learn to identify different opinions related to an issue as well as the things (information, values and beliefs) that influence those opinions. They will use an opinion spectrum to analyze the range of opinions in their classroom on environmental issues and understand how these spectrums can be valuable to engineering design.
Students explore the concept of "reducing" solid waste and how it relates to product packaging and engineering advancements in packaging materials. They read about and evaluate the highly publicized packaging decisions of two major U.S. corporations. Then they evaluate different ways to package items in order to minimize the environmental impact, while considering issues such as cost, availability, product attractiveness, etc. In addition, students explore "hydropulping" and consider its use as a recycling process.
This lesson will introduce students to environmental issues. Students will recognize environmental opinions and perspective, which will help them define themselves and others as either preservationists or conservationists. Students also learn about the importance of teamwork in engineering.
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 lesson, students develop an understanding of the critical role communication plays in an engineer's life. Students create products to communicate their learning about the engineering role in the environment.
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.