Students will breed fruit flies through several generations and record their data using mathematical models in order to demonstrate the inheritance of trait variations.
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Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use this model to learn about Newton's three laws of motion, examining the effect of different forces on the motion of the rocket.
Following are a series of activities in which students apply various math skills to better understand the problems of world hunger and what steps are being taken to reduce the number of people without enough to eat. This activity looks at how the number of people affected by hunger is changing. Students will understand the dynamic nature of the problem and the challenges of reaching the Millennium Development Goal to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger by half by 2015. This is Activity #2 of 5 in this lesson.
The CyberSquad searches for Hackerë_í__ castle based on a survey of where town residents have last seen him in this video from Cyberchase. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
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Students learn about the role engineers and mathematicians play in developing the perfect bungee cord length by simulating and experimenting with bungee jumping using washers and rubber bands. Working as if they are engineers for a (hypothetical) amusement park, students are challenged to develop a show-stopping bungee jumping ride that is safe. To do this, they must find the maximum length of the bungee cord that permits jumpers (such as brave Washy!) to get as close to the ground as possible without going "splat"! This requires them to learn about force and displacement and run an experiment. Student teams collect and plot displacement data and calculate the slope, linear equation of the line of best fit and spring constant using Hooke's law. Students make hypotheses, interpret scatter plots looking for correlations, and consider possible sources of error. An activity worksheet, pre/post quizzes and a PowerPoint® presentation are included.
In this task students are asked to describe the data represented in a scatter plot.
With the help of simple, teacher-led demonstration activities, students learn the basic concepts of heat transfer by means of conduction, convection, and radiation. Students then apply these concepts as they work in teams to solve two problems. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately body temperature, and the other problem is to cause an identical soda can of warm water to cool as much as possible during the same thirty-minute time interval. Students design their solutions using only common, everyday materials. They record the water temperatures in their two soda cans every five minutes, and prepare line graphs in order to visually compare their results to the temperature of an unaltered control can of water.
Students reinforce an antenna tower made from foam insulation so that it can withstand a 480 N-cm bending moment (torque) and a 280 N-cm twisting moment (torque) with minimal deflection. During one class period, students discuss the problem, run the initial bending and torsion tests and graph the results. During the following class periods, students design, construct and test sturdier towers, and graph the results.
This task asks students to glean contextual information about bird eggs from a collection of measurements of said eggs organized in a scatter plot. In particular, students are asked to identify a correlation and use it to make interpolative predictions, and reason about the properties of specific eggs via the graphical presentation of the data.
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 learn about the anatomy of the ear and how the ears work as a sound sensor. Ear anatomy parts and structures are explained in detail, as well as how sound is transmitted mechanically and then electrically through them to the brain. Students use LEGO® robots with sound sensors to measure sound intensities, learning how the NXT brick (computer) converts the intensity of sound measured by the sensor input into a number that transmits to a screen. They build on their experiences from the previous activities and establish a rich understanding of the sound sensor and its relationship to the TaskBot's computer.
Students are introduced to different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction grating acts like a prism, bending light into its component colors.
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.
It is possible to say a lot about the solution to an equation without actually solving it, just by looking at the structure and operations that make up the equation. This exercise turns the focus away from the familiar Ňfinding the solutionÓ problem to thinking about what it really means for a number to be a solution of an equation.
Using the LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT kit, students construct experiments to measure the time it takes a free falling body to travel a specified distance. Students use the touch sensor, rotational sensor, and the NXT brick to measure the time of flight for the falling object at different release heights. After the object is released from its holder and travels a specified distance, a touch sensor is triggered and time of object's descent from release to impact at touch sensor is recorded and displayed on the screen of the NXT. Students calculate the average velocity of the falling object from each point of release, and construct a graph of average velocity versus time. They also create a best fit line for the graph using spreadsheet software. Students use the slope of the best fit line to determine their experimental g value and compare this to the standard value of g.
Using paper, paper clips and tape, student teams design flying/falling devices to stay in the air as long as possible and land as close as possible to a given target. Student teams use the steps of the engineering design process to guide them through the initial conception, evaluation, testing and re-design stages. The activity culminates with a classroom competition and scoring to evaluate how each team's design performed.
Students learn that fats found in the foods we eat are not all the same; they discover that physical properties of materials are related to their chemical structures. Provided with several samples of commonly used fats with different chemical properties (olive oil, vegetable oil, shortening, animal fat and butter), student groups build and use simple LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots with temperature and light sensors to determine the melting points of the fat samples. Because of their different chemical structures, these fats exhibit different physical properties, such as melting point and color. This activity uses the fact that fats are opaque when solid and translucent when liquid to determine the melting point of each sample upon being heated. Students heat the samples, and use the robot to determine when samples are melted. They analyze plots of their collected data to compare melting points of the oil samples to look for trends. Discrepancies are correlated to differences in the chemical structure and composition of the fats.
Through an overview of some of the environmental challenges facing the growing and evolving country of China today, students learn about the effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution that China is struggling to curb with the help of engineers and scientists. This includes the sources of particulate matter 2.5 and carbon dioxide, and air pollution impacts on the health of people and the environment.
Students learn about the strength of bones and methods of helping to mend fractured bones. During a class demonstration, a chicken bone is broken by applying a load until it reaches a point of failure (fracture). Then, working as biomedical engineers, students teams design their own splint or cast to help repair a fractured bone, learning about the strength of materials used.
Students conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots have decomposed completely.