At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle, Bernoulli's principle, and why above-ground storage tanks are of major concern in the Houston Ship Channel and other coastal areas. In this culminating activity, student groups act as engineering design teams to derive equations to determine the stability of specific above-ground storage tank scenarios with given tank specifications and liquid contents. With their floatation analyses completed and the stability determined, students analyze the tank stability in specific storm conditions. Then, teams are challenged to come up with improved storage tank designs to make them less vulnerable to uplift, displacement and buckling in storm conditions. Teams present their analyses and design ideas in short class presentations.
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Students learn about linear programming (also called linear optimization) to solve engineering design problems. As they work through a word problem as a class, they learn about the ideas of constraints, feasibility and optimization related to graphing linear equalities. Then they apply this information to solve two practice engineering design problems related to optimizing materials and cost by graphing inequalities, determining coordinates and equations from their graphs, and solving their equations. It is suggested that students conduct the associated activity, Optimizing Pencils in a Tray, before this lesson, although either order is acceptable.
This materials have been compiled to support an introductory Biotechnology course for high school students.
Students use a tension-compression machine (or an alternative bone-breaking setup) to see how different bones fracture differently and with different amounts of force, depending on their body locations. Teams determine bone mass and volume, calculate bone density, and predict fracture force. Then they each test a small animal bone (chicken, turkey, cat) to failure, examining the break to analyze the fracture type. Groups conduct research about biomedical challenges, materials and repair methods, and design repair treatment plans specific to their bones and fracture types, presenting their design recommendations to the class.
Students learn about the role engineers and engineering play in repairing severe bone fractures. They acquire knowledge about the design and development of implant rods, pins, plates, screws and bone grafts. They learn about materials science, biocompatibility and minimally-invasive surgery.
BRIGHT Girls was a project to build broader participation in the sciences, led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and funded by the National Science Foundation. We sought to increase students' motivation and capacity to pursue careers in STEM by engaging them in studies of nearby natural environments. The developed lesson plans may be used in formal or informal educational settings, e.g., in a summer academy or across multiple class periods. These investigations help students explore the relationships among life history and ecosystems, connecting biology to geology and remote sensing.
Students design, build and test reflectors to measure the effect of solar reflectance on the efficiency of solar PV panels. They use a small PV panel, a multimeter, cardboard and foil to build and test their reflectors in preparation for a class competition. Then they graph and discuss their results with the class. Complete this activity as part of the Photovoltaic Efficiency unit and in conjunction with the Concentrated Solar Power lesson.
Students are introduced to the idea of improving efficiency by examining a setting that is familiar to many teenagers fast food restaurants. More specifically, they learn about the concepts of trade-offs, constraints, increasing efficiency and systems thinking. They consider how to improve efficiency in a struggling restaurant through delegating tasks, restructuring employee responsibilities and revising a floor plan, all while working within limitations and requirements. Finally, students summarize and defend their suggested changes in argumentative essays.
In this project, students take on the role of an industrial engineer and learn about user-centered product design. They will go through all of the steps of James Dyson’s design process to design a gift that other students would want to buy for one of their adult family members. Students then vote to choose two final designs to move into production and will also create marketing materials for selling the product at school or another appropriate venue.
Students are introduced to the biomechanical characteristics of helmets, and are challenged to incorporate them into designs for helmets used for various applications. By doing this, they come to understand the role of enginering associated with saftey products. The use of bicycle helmets helps to protect the brain and neck in the event of a crash. To do this effectively, helmets must have some sort of crushable material to absorb the collision forces and a strap system to make sure the protection stays in place. The exact design of a helmet depends on the needs and specifications of the user.
The Challenge Question of the Legacy Cycle draws the student into considering the engineering ingenuity of nature. It will force him to analyze, appreciate and understand the wisdom of these designs as the student team focuses on meeting each of the challenge's requirements. The student is asked, with his team members, to envision a sustainable design for a future guest village within the Saguaro National Park, outside of Tucson, Arizona. What issues need to be addressed to support the comforts of park visitors without compromising the natural resources or endangering the endemic species of the area? A deeper scope of application will reveal extensions of this design in the incorporation of urban planning and systems design. It also strengthens the concept of manufacturing and building without producing waste or pollution.
In this service-learning engineering project, students follow the steps of the engineering design process to design an assistive eating device for a client. More specifically, they design a prototype device to help a young girl who has a medical condition that restricts the motion of her joints. Her wish is to eat her favorite food, pizza, without getting her nose wet. Students learn about arthrogryposis and how it affects the human body as they act as engineers to find a solution to this open-ended design challenge and build a working prototype. This project works even better if you arrange for a client in your own community.
Students will design and build a machine to lift "barrels" of volatile chemicals from a "dangerous" spill area to a "safe" area.
During the associated lesson, students have learned about Newton's three laws of motion and free-body diagrams and have identified the forces of thrust, drag and gravity. As students begin to understand the physics behind thrust, drag and gravity and how these relate these to Newton's three laws of motion, groups assemble and launch the rockets that they designed in the associated lesson. The height of the rockets, after constructed and launched, are measured and compared to the theoretical values calculated during the rocket lesson. Effective teamwork and attention to detail is key for successful launches.
Students learn how forces affect the human skeletal system through fractures and why certain bones are more likely to break than others depending on their design and use in the body. They learn how engineers and doctors collaborate to design effective treatments with consideration for the location, fracture severity and patient age, as well as the use of biocompatible materials. Learning the lesson content prepares students for the associated activity in which they test small animal bones to failure and then design treatment repair plans.
In 2008, Dr. Michelle Soupir joined the Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering department at Iowa State University. The goal of Dr. Soupir’s research program is to conduct basic research to move us toward more sustainable water systems. Dr. Soupir uses lab- and field-based research projects to monitor the occurrence, fate and movement of nutrients and microorganisms in surface and drainage water.The information, activities and assessments included in these curriculum modules aim to tell a story. This storyline will help students learn the basics of denitrification and the nitrogen cycle to make sense of our anchor phenomenon - the Gulf Dead Zone. Students will learn that local conditions and actions can have a significant impact on global issues. The activities with which students will engage constitute a meaningful pathway to understanding and are not intended to be used in isolation. As you make plans for how these modules will be used, carefully consider the connections and interdependence of the activities, which make it difficult to separate the activities and is not advised.Each module consists of two or three activities. Each activity provides opportunities to develop and use specific elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering skills and practice(s) to make sense of phenomena and/or to design solutions to problems. They also provide students with the chance to use conceptual understanding that spans scientific disciplines and develop deep understanding of core ideas and content.
The purpose of the resource is to introduce students to Landsat images and how to identify the land cover types within those images.
The ocean's resources are slowly being depleted. This curriculum examines the issue of overfishing and its impact on both the environment and human life. In developing sustainable solutions, the students address the driving question: "How can we as youth, sustain the future of the world's ocean through our actions today?"
The Wasted: Don't Trash the Earth curriculum asks students to examine the impact of the waste we locally and globally produce and seek creative solutions to reduce this wastefulness by answering the driving question: "How can we, as youth, rethink waste?"
Students apply their mathematics and team building skills to explore the concept of rocketry. They learn about design issues faced by aerospace engineers when trying to launch rocketships or satellites in order to land them safely in the ocean, for example. Students learn the value of designing within constraints while brainstorming a rocketry system using provided materials and a specified project budget. Throughout the design process, teamwork is emphasized since the most successful launches occur when groups work effectively to generate creative ideas and solutions to the rocket challenge.
Students learn how roadways are designed and constructed, and discuss the advantages and limitations of the current roadway construction process. They look at current practices of roadway monitoring, discuss the limitations, and consider ways to further road monitoring research. To conclude, student groups compete to design smooth, cost-efficient and sound model road bases using gravel, sand, water and rubber (representing asphalt). This lesson prepares students for the associated activity in which they act as civil engineers hired by USDOT to research through their own model experimentation how to best use piezoelectric materials to detect road damage by showing how piezoelectric transducers can indicate road damage.
Students redesign and justify the packaging used in consumer products. Design criteria include reducing the amount of packaging material by 25%.
Student groups work with manipulatives—pencils and trays—to maximize various quantities of a system. They work through three linear optimization problems, each with different constraints. After arriving at a solution, they construct mathematical arguments for why their solutions are the best ones before attempting to maximize a different quantity. To conclude, students think of real-world and engineering space optimization examples—a frequently encountered situation in which the limitation is the amount of space available. It is suggested that students conduct this activity before the associated lesson, Linear Programming, although either order is acceptable.
Students are introduced to passive solar design for buildings an approach that uses the sun's energy and the surrounding climate to provide natural heating and cooling. They learn about some of the disadvantages of conventional heating and cooling and how engineers incorporate passive solar designs into our buildings for improved efficiency.
In this unit of study, students will design, build, program, and test a small fan-powered "robot" created with an Arduino controller. The drone must move a certain distance, then stop. This unit integrates nine STEM attributes and was developed as part of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership's Teacher Leadership Team. Any instructional materials are included within this unit of study.
Acting as civil engineers hired by the U.S. Department of Transportation to research how to best use piezoelectric materials to detect road damage, student groups are challenged to independently create their own experiment procedures, working with given materials and tools. The general approach is that they set up model roads using rubber mats to simulate asphalt and piezoelectric transducers to simulate the in-ground road sensors. They drop heavy bolts at various locations on the “road,” collecting data and then analyzing the voltage changes across the piezoelectric transducers caused by the vibrations of the bolt hitting the rubber. After making notches in the rubber “road” to simulate cracks and potholes, they collect more data to see if the piezo elements detect the damage. Students write up their research and conclusions as if presenting evidence to USDOT officials about how the voltage changes across the piezo elements can be used to indicate road damage and extrapolated to determine when roads need maintenance service.
In this unit of study students learn that in the horizontal direction a projectile moves at a constant speed with nothing to cause acceleration. In the vertical direction a projectile accelerates due to the earth’s gravitational field. And combining these two type of motions together you can determine the parabolic arch of a projectile. This unit integrates nine STEM attributes and was developed as part of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership's Teacher Leadership Team. Any instructional materials are included within this unit of study.
Pumps are used to get drinking water to our houses every day! And in disaster situations, pumps are essential to keep flood water out. In this hands-on activity, student groups design, build, test and improve devices to pump water as if they were engineers helping a rural village meet their drinking water supply. Students keep track of their materials costs, and calculate power and cost efficiencies of the prototype pumps. They also learn about different types of pumps, how they work and useful applications.
Students become familiar with the online Renewable Energy Living Lab interface and access its real-world solar energy data to evaluate the potential for solar generation in various U.S. locations. They become familiar with where the most common sources of renewable energy are distributed across the U.S. Through this activity, students and teachers gain familiarity with the living lab's GIS graphic interface and query functions, and are exposed to the available data in renewable energy databases, learning how to query to find specific information for specific purposes. The activity is intended as a "training" activity prior to conducting activities such as The Bright Idea activity, which includes a definitive and extensive end product (a feasibility plan) for students to create.
Over several days, students learn about composites, including carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers, and their applications in modern life. This prepares students to be able to put data from an associated statistical analysis activity into context as they conduct meticulous statistical analyses to evaluate/determine the effectiveness of carbon fiber patches to repair steel. This lesson and its associated activity are suitable for use during the last six weeks of an AP Statistics course; see the topics and timing note for details. A PowerPoint® presentation and post-quiz are provided.
Student pairs reverse engineer objects of their choice, learning what it takes to be an engineer. Groups each make a proposal, create a team work contract, use tools to disassemble a device, and sketch and document their full understanding of how it works. They compile what they learned into a manual and write-up that summarizes the object's purpose, bill of materials and operation procedure with orthographic and isometric sketches. Then they apply some of the steps of the engineering design process to come up with ideas for how the product or device could be improved for the benefit of the end user, manufacturer and/or environment. They describe and sketch their ideas for re-imagined designs (no prototyping or testing is done). To conclude, teams compile full reports and then recap their reverse engineering projects and investigation discoveries in brief class presentations. A PowerPoint(TM) presentation, written report and oral presentation rubrics, and peer evaluation form are provided.
Through this activity, students come to understand the environmental design considerations required when generating electricity. The electric power that we use every day at home and work is usually generated by a variety of power plants. Power plants are engineered to utilize the conversion of one form of energy to another. The main components of a power plant are an input source of energy that is used to turn large turbines, and a method to convert the turbine rotation into electricity. The input sources of energy include fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil), wind, water, nuclear materials and refuse. This activity focuses on how much energy can be converted to electricity from many of these input sources. It also considers the impact of the by-products associated with using these natural resources, and looks at electricity requirements. To do this, students research and evaluate the electricity needs of their community, the available local resources for generating electricity, and the impact of using those resources.
Student teams practice water quality analysis through turbidity measurement and coliform bacteria counts. They use information about water treatment processes to design prototype small-scale water treatment systems and test the influent (incoming) and effluent (outgoing) water to assess how well their prototypes produce safe water to prevent water-borne illnesses.
Student teams are challenged to evaluate the design of several liquid soaps to answer the question, “Which soap is the best?” Through two simple teacher class demonstrations and the activity investigation, students learn about surface tension and how it is measured, the properties of surfactants (soaps), and how surfactants change the surface properties of liquids. As they evaluate the engineering design of real-world products (different liquid dish washing soap brands), students see the range of design constraints such as cost, reliability, effectiveness and environmental impact. By investigating the critical micelle concentration of various soaps, students determine which requires less volume to be an effective cleaning agent, factors related to both the cost and environmental impact of the surfactant. By investigating the minimum surface tension of the soap, students determine which dissolves dirt and oil most effectively and thus cleans with the least effort. Students evaluate these competing criteria and make their own determination as to which of five liquid soaps make the “best” soap, giving their own evidence and scientific reasoning. They make the connection between gathered data and the real-world experience in using these liquid soaps.
Students will design a method that applies various chemistry techniques to separate a mixture by physical means to simulate how a scientist would mitigate contamination in a stream due to run-off.
This unit describes a general approach to guiding students to complete service-based engineering design projects, with specific examples provided in detail as associated activities. With your class, brainstorm ideas for engineering designs that benefit your community or a specific person in your community. Then, guided by the steps of the engineering design process, have students research to understand background science and math, meet their client to understand the problem, and create, test and improve prototype devices. Note that service-based projects often take more time to prepare, especially if you arrange for a real client. However, the authors notice that students of both genders and all ethnicities tend to respond with more enthusiasm and interest to altruistic projects.
The high school earth and physical science unit moves through an exploration of tectonic plates, why and how they move, and the earthquakes that they cause. As the final project, teams learn about Early Warning Systems for earthquakes and how they have saved millions of lives in other countries. Teams take on a population in Oregon and design a ShakeAlert system to give them the seconds required to prepare for a mega earthquake.
Students explore energy efficiency, focusing on renewable energy, by designing and building flat-plate solar water heaters. They apply their understanding of the three forms of heat transfer (conduction, convection and radiation), as well as how they relate to energy efficiency. They calculate the efficiency of the solar water heaters during initial and final tests and compare the efficiencies to those of models currently sold on the market (requiring some additional investigation by students). After comparing efficiencies, students explain how they would further improve their devices. Students learn about the trade-offs between efficiency and cost by calculating the total cost of their devices and evaluating cost per percent efficiency and per degree change of the water.
Students are introduced to static equilibrium by learning how forces and torques are balanced in a well-designed engineering structure. A tower crane is presented as a simplified two-dimensional case. Using Popsicle sticks and hot glue, student teams design, build and test a simple tower crane model according to these principles, ending with a team competition.
The Tippy Tap hand-washing station is an inexpensive and effective device used extensively in the developing world. One shortcoming of the homemade device is that it must be manually refilled with water and therefore is of limited use in high-traffic areas. In this activity, student teams design, prototype and test piping systems to transport water from a storage tank to an existing Tippy Tap hand-washing station, thereby creating a more efficient hand-washing station. Through this example service-learning engineering project, students learn basic fluid dynamic principles that are needed for creating efficient piping systems.