After learning, comparing and contrasting the steps of the engineering design process (EDP) and scientific method, students review the human skeletal system, including the major bones, bone types, bone functions and bone tissues, as well as other details about bone composition. Students then pair-read an article about bones and bone growth and compile their notes to summarize the article. Finally, students complete a homework assignment to review the major bones in the human body, preparing them for the associated activities in which they create and test prototype replacement bones with appropriate densities. Two PowerPoint(TM) presentations, pre-/post-test, handout and worksheet are provided.
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After completing the associated lesson and its first associated activity, students are familiar with the 20 major bones in the human body knowing their locations and relative densities. When those bones break, lose their densities or are destroyed, we look to biomedical engineers to provide replacements. In this activity, student pairs are challenged to choose materials and create prototypes that could replace specific bones. They follow the steps of the engineering design process, researching, brainstorming, prototyping and testing to find bone replacement solutions. Specifically, they focus on identifying substances that when combined into a creative design might provide the same density (and thus strength and support) as their natural counterparts. After iterations to improve their designs, they present their bone alternative solutions to the rest of the class. They refer to the measured and calculated densities for fabricated human bones calculated in the previous activity, and conduct Internet research to learn the densities of given fabrication materials (or measure/calculate those densities if not found online).
Students further their understanding of the engineering design process (EDP) while applying researched information on transportation technology, materials science and bioengineering. Students are given a fictional client statement (engineering challenge) and directed to follow the steps of the EDP to design prototype patient safety systems for small-size model ambulances. While following the steps of the EDP, students identify suitable materials and demonstrate two methods of representing solutions to the design challenge (scale drawings and small-scale prototypes). A successful patient safety system meets all of the project's functions and constraints, including the model patient (a raw egg) "surviving" a front-end collision test with a 1:8 ramp pitch.
Students further their understanding of the engineering design process while combining mechanical engineering and bioengineering to create an automated medical device. During the activity, students are given a fictional client statement and are required to follow the steps of the design process to create medical devices that help reduce the workload for hospital workers and increase the quality of patient care.
Students learn about how biomedical engineers create assistive devices for persons with fine motor skill disabilities. They learn about types of forces, balanced and unbalanced forces, and the relationship between form and function, as well as the structure of the hand. They do this by designing, building and testing their own hand "gripper" prototypes that are able to grasp and lift a 200 ml cup of sand.
Students experience the steps of the engineering design process as they design solutions for a real-world problem that could affect their health. After a quick review of the treatment processes that municipal water goes through before it comes from the tap, they learn about the still-present measurable contamination of drinking water due to anthropogenic (human-made) chemicals. Substances such as prescription medication, pesticides and hormones are detected in the drinking water supplies of American and European metropolitan cities. Using chlorine as a proxy for estrogen and other drugs found in water, student groups design and test prototype devices that remove the contamination as efficiently and effectively as possible. They use plastic tubing and assorted materials such as activated carbon, cotton balls, felt and cloth to create filters with the capability to regulate water flow to optimize the cleaning effect. They use water quality test strips to assess their success and redesign for improvement. They conclude by writing comprehensive summary design reports.
Students review what they know about the 20 major bones in the human body (names, shapes, functions, locations, as learned in the associated lesson) and the concept of density (mass per unit of volume). Then student pairs calculate the densities for different bones from a disarticulated human skeleton model of fabricated bones, making measurements via triple-beam balance (for mass) and water displacement (for volume). All groups share their results with the class in order to collectively determine the densities for every major bone in the body. This activity prepares students for the next activity, "Can It Support You? No Bones about It," during which they act as biomedical engineers and design artificial bones, which requires them to find materials of suitable density to perform as human body implants.
Students further their understanding of the engineering design process while combining mechanical engineering and bioengineering to create assistive devices. During this extended activity (seven class periods), students are given a fictional client statement and required to follow the steps of the engineering design process (EDP) to design a new wristwatch face for a visually impaired student at their school. Student groups share their designs with the class through design presentations. A successful design meets all of the student-generated design requirements, including the development of a new method of representing time that does not require the sense of sight. Through this activity, students design, construct and iterate classroom prototypes of their watch designs.