In this multi-day activity, students explore environments, ecosystems, energy flow and organism interactions by creating a scale model biodome, following the steps of the engineering design process. The Procedure section provides activity instructions for Biodomes unit, lessons 2-6, as students work through Parts 1-6 to develop their model biodome. Subjects include energy flow and food chains, basic needs of plants and animals, and the importance of decomposers. Students consider why a solid understanding of one's environment and the interdependence of an ecosystem can inform the choices we make and the way we engineer our own communities. This activity can be conducted as either a very structured or open-ended design.
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Student teams creatively construct mobiles using hangers and assorted materials and objects while exploring the principles of balance and center of mass. They build complex, free-hanging structures by balancing pieces with different lengths, weights, shapes and sizes.
Both sexes can use this interactive feature that lets you use DNA information from the Y chromosome to complete a male family tree. From the NOVA: "Lost Tribes of Israel" Web site. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
This interactive resource from NOVA Online shows how an atoll is formed from a volcanic island and describes the role coral reefs play in this process. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
- Material Type:
- PBS LearningMedia
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
- Provider Set:
- PBS Learning Media: Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development
- Teachers' Domain
- National Science Foundation
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Date Added:
This is a really fun and informative lesson that I do with my high school Programming/technology class to break up the monotony of beginner programming. However; this lesson can be used and applied in essentially any class and for many purposes, and to address many areas. One of the other really nice things about this lesson is that it can be extended to hit many points including physics, math, and advanced engineering.
Throughout the building period, I would present teams with a challenge (puzzle, build, etc…) and the first team to complete it would get a prize. It could be more modification time, extra materials, etc…)
The materials (including hot glue guns) can be purchased at Wal Mart or a similar store for around $20-25, if ordering through your district isn’t an option. With those purchases, it gives you a lot more materials than needed which can be used for additional similar projects.
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 use simple household materials, such as PVC piping and compact mirrors, to construct models of laser-based security systems. The protected object (a "mummified troll" or another treasure of your choosing) is placed "on display" in the center of the modeled room and protected by a laser system that utilizes a laser beam reflected off mirrors to trigger a light trip sensor with alarm.
In this two-part activity, students design and build Rube Goldberg machines. This open-ended challenge employs the engineering design process and may have a pre-determined purpose, such as rolling a marble into a cup from a distance, or let students decide the purposes.
This Super Lesson utilizes Project Based Learning to assist learners with designing, building, and testing flying contraptions as an introduction to Engineering. The goal of this project is to engage students in collaborative team work and to introduce students to the Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, and Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions.
We have offered this Super Lesson as an 8-week elective course, developing and strengthening student interest in applied Math and Science topics. It could also be offered within upper elementary or middle school Science and Math courses. In addition, each week’s topic could be used as a stand alone mini-lesson if time is limited. We have worked to include multiple options within this unit to make it accessible to both general education and special education programs, including recommendations for modifications and extensions.
Students learn about the engineering design process and how it is used to engineer products for everyday use. Students individually brainstorm solutions for sorting coins and draw at least two design ideas. They work in small groups to combine ideas and build a coin sorter using common construction materials such as cardboard, tape, straws and fabric. Students test their coin sorters, make revisions and suggest ways to improve their designs. By designing, building, testing and improving coin sorters, students come to understand how the engineering design process is used to engineer products that benefit society.
Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, and pulley in the context of the construction of a pyramid, gaining high-level insights into tools that have been used since ancient times and are still in use today. In two hands-on activities, students begin their own pyramid design by performing materials calculations, and evaluating and selecting a construction site. The six simple machines are examined in more depth in subsequent lessons in this unit.
Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier, and which people have used to provide mechanical advantage for thousands of years. Students learn about the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw and pulley in the context of the construction of a pyramid, gaining insights into tools that have been used since ancient times and are still important today. Through numerous hands-on activities, students imagine themselves as ancient engineers building a pyramid. Student teams evaluate and select a construction site, design a pyramid, perform materials calculations, test a variety of cutting wedges on different materials, design a small-scale cart/lever transport system to convey building materials, experiment with the angle of inclination and pull force on an inclined plane, see how a pulley can change the direction of force, and learn the differences between fixed, movable and combined pulleys. While learning the steps of the engineering design process, students practice teamwork, creativity and problem solving.
This hands-on activity shows you how to build basic architectural shapes out of toothpicks and gumdrops. Learners explore how different shapes are more stable than others, and are introduced to ideas about "stretching and squashing"--that is, about tension and compression.
Participants collaborate in ISKME's Teachers as Makers Remix Lab at Maker Faire to brainstorm, prototype, present, and document new ideas for teaching and learning. Each participant remixes an Open Educational Resource (OER) that will be shared on OER Commons.
Participants collaborate in ISKME's Teachers as Makers Remix Lab at Ed Lab Santiago, Chile to brainstorm, prototype, present, and document new ideas for teaching and learning. Each participant remixes an Open Educational Resource (OER) that will be shared on OER Commons.
Working as a team, students discover that the value of pi (3.1415926...) is a constant and applies to all different sized circles. The team builds a basic robot and programs it to travel in a circular motion. A marker attached to the robot chassis draws a circle on the ground as the robot travels the programmed circular path. Students measure the circle's circumference and diameter and calculate pi by dividing the circumference by the diameter. They discover the pi and circumference relationship; the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter is the value of pi.
Student teams build model hand dynamometers used to measure grip strengths of people recovering from sports injuries. They use their models to measure how much force their classmates muscles are capable of producing, and analyze the data to determine factors that influence a person's grip strength. They use this information to produce a recommendation of a hand dynamometer design for a medical office specializing in physical therapy. They also consider the many other ways grip strength data is used by engineers to design everyday products.
As students learn about the creation of biodomes, they are introduced to the steps of the engineering design process, including guidelines for brainstorming. Students learn how engineers are involved in the design and construction of biodomes and use brainstorming to come up with ideas for possible biodome designs. This lesson is part of a series of six lessons in which students use their growing understanding of various environments and the engineering design process, to design and create their own model biodome ecosystems.
Build to Think and its corresponding worksheet are intended to help learners solve problems visually and tangibly. This tool can be utilized to prototype anything from life challenges to project challenges. It demonstrates the value of stepping back and gaining a new perspective as participants navigate their work/life's biggest challenges, and also, how asking helpful questions and paying attention to the right things will help them see more clearly and take next steps with greater confidence.
After any activity/class, it’s important to debrief the experience, to better understand what participants learned, and to help them understand the big take-aways from the activity/class. As a facilitator of a debrief, you should have in mind the points you’d like to hit and have a sense of the direction you’d like to take it in, while still allowing for new and surprising insights to be uncovered.