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.
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In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science and see that work is made easier through the use of simple machines. Already encountering simple machines everyday, students will be alerted to their widespread uses in everyday life. This lesson serves as the starting point for the Simple Machines Unit.
Students learn what causes air pollution and how to investigate the different pollutants that exist, such as toxic gases and particulate matter. They investigate the technologies developed by engineers to reduce air pollution.
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 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.
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.
Engineers design methods of removing particulate matter from industrial sources to minimize negative effects of air pollution. In this activity, students will undertake a similar engineering challenge as they design and build a filter to remove pepper from an air stream without blocking more than 50% of the air.
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.
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.
Students construct model landfill liners using tape and strips of plastic, within resource constraints. The challenge is to construct a bag that is able to hold a cup of water without leaking. This represents similar challenges that environmental engineers face when piecing together liners for real landfills that are acres and acres in size.
In this activity, students are divided into a group of hormones and a group of receptors. The hormones have to find their matching receptors, and the pair, once matched, perform a given action. This activity helps students learn about the specificity of hormone-receptor interactions within the endocrine system.
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.
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.
Student teams locate a contaminant spill in a hypothetical site by measuring the pH of soil samples. Then they predict the direction of groundwater flow using mathematical modeling. They also use the engineering design process to come up with alternative treatments for the contaminated water.
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 plan helps students understand the factors that affect water quality and the conditions that allow for different animals and plants to survive. Students will look at the effects of water quality on various water-related activities and describe water as an environmental, economic and social resource. The students will also learn how engineers use water quality information to make decisions about stream modifications.
Students learn about porosity and permeability and relate these concepts to groundwater flow. They use simple materials to conduct a porosity experiment and use the data to understand how environmental engineers decide on the placement and treatment of a drinking water well.
Students capture and examine air particles to gain an appreciation of how much dust, pollen and other particulate matter is present in the air around them. Students place "pollution detectors" at various locations to determine which places have a lot of particles in the air and which places do not have as many. Quantifying and describing these particles is a first step towards engineering methods of removing contaminants from the air.
Waste disposal has been an ongoing problem since medieval times. Environmental engineers are employed to develop technologies to dispose of the enormous amount of trash produced in the United States. In this lesson, students will learn about the three methods of waste disposal in use by modern communities. They will also investigate how engineers design sanitary landfills to prevent leachate from polluting the underlining groundwater.
In this activity, students will learn about the Richter Scale for measuring earthquakes. The students will make a booklet with drawings that represent each rating of the Richter Scale.
In this activity, students will learn about the Mercalli Scale for rating earthquakes. Also, students will make a booklet with drawings that represent each rating of the scale.
This lesson will allow students to explore an important role of environmental engineers: cleaning the environment. Students will learn details about the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which was one of the most publicized and studied environmental tragedies in history. In the accompanying activity, they will try many "engineered" strategies to clean up their own manufactured oil spill and learn the difficulties of dealing with oil released into our waters.
This hands-on experiment will provide students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental cleanup. Students will create their own oil spill, try different methods for cleaning it up, and then discuss the merits of each method in terms of effectiveness (cleanliness) and cost. They will be asked to put themselves in the place of both an environmental engineer and an oil company owner who are responsible for the clean-up.
Students learn about oil spills and their environmental and economic effects. They experience the steps of the engineering design process as they brainstorm potential methods for oil spill clean-up, and then design, build, and re-design oil booms to prevent the spread of oil spills. During a reflective session after cleaning up their oil booms, students come up with ideas on how to reduce oil consumption to prevent future oil spills.
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.
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 gain an understanding of the layers of the Earth by designing and building clay models.
Students learn about seismology by using a sample seismograph constructed out of common classroom materials. The seismograph creates a seismogram based on vibrations caused by moving a ruler. The students work in groups to represent an engineering firm that must analyze the seismograph for how it works and how to read the seismogram it creates.
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.
In this activity, students are challenged to design a contraption using simple machines to move a circus elephant into a rail car. After students consider their audience and constraints, they work in groups to brainstorm ideas and select one concept to communicate to the class.
During this activity, students will learn how environmental engineers monitor water quality in resource use and design. They will employ environmental indicators to assess the water quality of a nearby stream. Students will make general observations of water quality as well as count the number of macroinvertabrates. They will then use the information they collected to create a scale to rate how good or bad the water quality of the stream. Finally, the class will compare their numbers and discuss and defend their results.
In this activity, students act as environmental engineers involved with the clean up of a toxic spill. Using bioremediation as the process, students select which bacteria they will use to eat up the pollutant spilled. Students learn how engineers use bioremediation to make organism degrade harmful chemicals. Engineers must make sure bacteria have everything they need to live and degrade contaminants for bioremediation to happen. Students learn about the needs of living things by setting up an experiment with yeast. The scientific method is reinforced as students must design the experiment themselves making sure they include a control and complete parts of a formal lab report.
In this activity, students learn how engineers design faucets. Students will learn about water pressure by building a simple system to model faucets and test the relationship between pressure, area and force. This is a great outdoor activity on a warm day.
Students learn about tornadoes - their basic characteristics, damage and occurrence. Students are introduced to the ways that engineers consider strong winds, specifically tornadoes, in their design of structures. Also, students learn how tornadoes are rated, and learn some basics of tornado safety.
Students learn about tornadoes, the damage they cause, and how to rate tornadoes. Specifically, students investigate the Enhanced Fujita Damage Scale of tornado intensity, and use it to complete a mock engineering analysis of damage caused by a tornado. Additional consideration is given to tornado warning systems and how these systems can be improved to be safer. Lastly, students learn basic tornado safety procedures.
Students will analyze data of tornadoes throughout the United States. They will create a bar graph of the number of tornadoes for the top ten states in the country and then calculate the median and the mode of the data.