Students gain an understanding of the factors that affect wind turbine operation. Following the steps of the engineering design process, engineering teams use simple materials (cardboard and wooden dowels) to build and test their own turbine blade prototypes with the objective of maximizing electrical power output for a hypothetical situation—helping scientists power their electrical devices while doing research on a remote island. Teams explore how blade size, shape, weight and rotation interact to achieve maximal performance, and relate the power generated to energy consumed on a scale that is relevant to them in daily life. A PowerPoint® presentation, worksheet and post-activity test are provided.
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Students find the volume and surface area of a rectangular box (e.g., a cereal box), and then figure out how to convert that box into a new, cubical box having the same volume as the original. As they construct the new, cube-shaped box from the original box material, students discover that the cubical box has less surface area than the original, and thus, a cube is a more efficient way to package things.
Prior to grade 6, students reasoned about division of whole numbers and decimals to the hundredths in different ways. During this lesson, they revisit two methods for finding quotients of whole numbers without remainder: using base-ten diagrams and using partial quotients. Reviewing these strategies reinforces students’ understanding of the underlying principles of base-ten division—which are based on the structure of place value, the properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division—and paves the way for understanding the long division algorithm. Here, partial quotients are presented as vertical calculations, which also foreshadows long division.This lesson then introduces students to long division. Students see that in long division the meaning of each digit is intimately tied to its place value, and that it is an efficient way to find quotients. In the partial quotients method, all numbers and their meaning are fully and explicitly written out. For example, to find 657÷3 we write that there are at least 3 groups of 200, record a subtraction of 600, and show a difference of 57. In long division, instead of writing out all the digits, we rely on the position of any digit—of the quotient, of the number being subtracted, or of a difference—to convey its meaning, which simplifies the calculation.In addition to making sense of long division and using it to calculate quotients, students also analyze some place-value errors commonly made in long division (MP3).
Students learn about the physical force of linear momentum movement in a straight line by investigating collisions. They learn an equation that engineers use to describe momentum. Students also investigate the psychological phenomenon of momentum; they see how the "big mo" of the bandwagon effect contributes to the development of fads and manias, and how modern technology and mass media accelerate and intensify the effect.
Students are introduced to the differences between acids and bases and how to use indicators, such as pH paper and red cabbage juice, to distinguish between them.
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 use the scientific method to determine the effect of control surfaces on a paper glider. They construct paper airplanes (model gliders) and test their performance to determine the base characteristics of the planes. Then they change one of the control surfaces and compare the results to their base glider in order to determine the cause and effect relationship of the control surfaces.
The application of engineering principles is explored in the creation of mobiles. As students create their own mobiles, they take into consideration the forces of gravity and convection air currents. They learn how an understanding of balancing forces is important in both art and engineering design.
This is a task from the Illustrative Mathematics website that is one part of a complete illustration of the standard to which it is aligned. Each task has at least one solution and some commentary that addresses important aspects of the task and its potential use.
Using gumdrops and toothpicks, students conduct a large-group, interactive ozone depletion model. Students explore the dynamic and competing upper atmospheric roles of the protective ozone layer, the sun's UV radiation and harmful human-made CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
The purpose of this activity is to bring together the students' knowledge of engineering and airplanes and the creation of a glider model to determine how each modification affects the flight. The students will use a design procedure whereby one variable is changed and all the others are kept constant.
Demos and activities in this lesson are intended to illustrate the basic concepts of energy science -- work, force, energy, power etc. and the relationships among them. The "lecture" portion of the lesson includes many demonstrations to keep students engaged, yet has high expectations for the students to perform energy related calculations and convert units as required. A homework assignment and quiz are used to reinforce and assess these basic engineering science concepts.
Students learn about the types of waves and how they change direction, as well as basic wave properties such as wavelength, frequency, amplitude and speed. During the presentation of lecture information on wave characteristics and properties, students take notes using a handout. Then they label wave parts on a worksheet diagram and draw their own waves with specified properties (crest, trough and wavelength). They also make observations about the waves they drew to determine which has the highest and the lowest frequency. With this knowledge, students better understand waves and are a step closer to understanding how humans see color.
Students culture cells in order to find out which type of surfactant (in this case, soap) is best at removing bacteria. Groups culture cells from unwashed hands and add regular bar soap, regular liquid soap, anti-bacterial soap, dishwasher soap, and hand sanitizer to the cultures. The cultures are allowed to grow for two days and then the students assess which type of soap design did the best job of removing bacteria cells from unwashed hands. Students extend their knowledge of engineering and surfactants for different environmental applications.
Students explore orbit transfers and, specifically, Hohmann transfers. They investigate the orbits of Earth and Mars by using cardboard and string. Students learn about the planets' orbits around the sun, and about a transfer orbit from one planet to the other. After the activity, students will know exactly what is meant by a delta-v maneuver!
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.
The Energy Systems and Solutions unit brings students through the exploration of science and engineering concepts as they relate to energy issues in everyday life. Issues surrounding energy production and energy consumption provide a relevant theme for learning basic science, math and engineering concepts, and also provide a convenient platform for introducing current scientific and technological developments into the curriculum. Energy-related issues touch the lives of every student. This project-based curriculum follows an engineering problem solving approach; students simultaneously learn and use scientific and mathematical content and processes as they solve an energy-related problem that is meaningful to them. By challenging them with a problem to solve, students are engaged in scientific and engineering processes, thereby reinforcing subject matter retention and targeting a wide range of learning styles in the classroom. The unit is organized into three main sections. The first section includes various activities designed to help students understand the problem at hand namely, the issues surrounding our society's energy situation so that they can realize the importance of what they are studying and the significance of their proposed solutions. An understanding of the problem forms the basis for the student learning that takes place in the second section, which includes basic energy concepts (forms, states, conversions, efficiency, etc.), content required by state and federal science educational standards. Students learn these concepts by participating engaging activities designed to show the relevance of the science material to the real world as well as to the solution of their assigned problem. Finally, in the last section of the unit, students apply the concepts they learned to complete a culminating project that requires them to consider what actions they can take to reduce our dependence of fossil fuels or otherwise provide a positive solution for our current energy crisis.
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the relationship between the mass and the weight of an object. Students will study the properties of common materials and why airplanes use specific materials.
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.
Students strengthen their communicate skills about measurements by learning the meaning of base units and derived units, including speed one of the most common derived units (distance/time). Working in groups, students measure the time for LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots to move a certain distance. The robots are started and stopped via touch sensors and programmed to display the distance traveled. Using their collected data, students complete a worksheet to calculate the robots' (mean/average) speeds at given motor powers.