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Catapult Challenge
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Education
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Author:
Timothy Barnes
Date Added:
12/05/2018
Dream It, Build It, Launch It!
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CC BY-NC
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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.

Subject:
Applied Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Lane County STEM Hub
Provider Set:
Content in Context SuperLessons
Date Added:
06/30/2016
Flying T-Shirts
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Educational Use
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During this engineering design/build project, students investigate many different solutions to a problem. Their design challenge is to find a way to get school t-shirts up into the stands during home sporting events. They follow the steps of the engineering design process to design and build a usable model, all while keeping costs under budget.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brandi Jackson
Denise W. Carlson
Jonathan MacNeil
Scott Duckworth
Stephanie Rivale
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Fun with Air-Powered Pneumatics
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Working as engineering teams in this introductory pneumatics lab, students design and build working pneumatic (air-powered) systems. The goal is to create systems that launch balls into the air. They record and analyze data from their launches.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alyssa Burger
and Melissa Schreifels
Jacob Givand
Jeffrey Schreifels
Will Durfee
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Get Me Off This Planet
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The purpose of this lesson is to teach the students about how a spacecraft gets from the surface of the Earth to Mars. The lesson first investigates rockets and how they are able to get us into space. Finally, the nature of an orbit is discussed as well as how orbits enable us to get from planet to planet specifically from Earth to Mars.

Subject:
Engineering
Astronomy
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Chris Yakacki
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Launch into Learning: Catapults!
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Educational Use
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Students learn about catapults, including the science and math concepts behind them, as they prepare for the associated activity in which they design, build and test their own catapults. They learn about force, accuracy, precision and angles.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Carleigh Samson
Jake Crosby
Jonathan McNeil
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
William Surles
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Manned Mission to Mars
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This lesson will discuss the details for a possible future manned mission to Mars. The human risks are discussed and evaluated to minimize danger to astronauts. A specialized launch schedule is provided and the different professions of the crew are discussed. Once on the surface, the crew's activities and living area will be covered, as well as how they will make enough fuel to make it off the Red Planet and return home.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Chris Yakacki
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Mission to Mars
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Educational Use
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The Mission to Mars curricular unit introduces students to Mars the Red Planet. Students discover why scientists are so interested in studying this mysterious planet. Many interesting facts about Mars are revealed, and the history of Martian exploration is reviewed. Students will learn about the development of robotics and how robots are beneficial to science, society and the exploration of space. Details on engineers' involvement in space exploration are presented. Furthermore, students will learn how orbits allow astronauts to move from planet to planet and what type of equipment is used by scientists and engineers to safely explore space. Lastly, the specific details on and human risks for a possible future manned mission to Mars (and back to Earth again!) are discussed.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Date Added:
03/02/2009
Right on Target: Catapult Game
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Educational Use
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Students experience the engineering design process as they design and build accurate and precise catapults using common materials. They use their catapults to participate in a game in which they launch Ping-Pong balls to attempt to hit various targets.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Carleigh Samson
Jake Crosby
Jonathan McNeil
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
William Surles
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Rockets!
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Educational Use
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Students are introduced to statics and dynamics, free-body diagrams, combustion and thermodynamics to gain an understanding of the forces needed to lift rockets off the ground. They learn that thrust force is needed to launch rockets into space and the energy for thrust is stored as chemical energy in the rocket's fuel. Then, using the law of conservation of energy, students learn that the chemical energy of the fuel is converted into work and heat energy during a rocket launch. A short PowerPoint® presentation is provided, including two example problems for stoichiometry review. An optional teacher demonstration is described as an extension activity.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Taylor Dizon-Kelly
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Slingshot to the Outer Planets
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Educational Use
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Students are introduced to the engineering challenges involved with interplanetary space travel. In particular, they learn about the gravity assist or "slingshot" maneuver often used by engineers to send spacecraft to the outer planets. Using magnets and ball bearings to simulate a planetary flyby, students investigate what factors influence the deflection angle of a gravity assist maneuver.

Subject:
Engineering
Astronomy
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise W. Carlson
Jake Lewis
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Strawkets and Thrust
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Educational Use
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In this activity, students investigate the effect that thrust has on rocket flight. Students will make two paper rockets that they can launch themselves by blowing through a straw. These "strawkets" will differ in diameter, such that students will understand that a rocket with a smaller exit nozzle will provide a larger thrust. Students have the opportunity to compare the distances traveled by their two strawkets after predicting where they will land. Since each student will have a slightly different rocket and launching technique, they will observe which factors contribute to a strawket's thrust and performance.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Argrow
Janet Yowell
Jay Shah
Jeff White
Luke Simmons
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Strawkets and Weight
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In this activity, students investigate the effect that weight has on rocket flight. Students construct a variety of their own straw-launched rockets, or "strawkets," that have different weights. Specifically, they observe what happens when the weight of a strawket is altered by reducing its physical size and using different construction materials. Finally, the importance of weight distribution in a rocket is determined.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Argrow
Janet Yowell
Jay Shah
Jeff White
Luke Simmons
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Take Off with Paper Airplanes
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This lesson introduces students to the art of designing an airplane through paper airplane constructions. The goal is that students will learn important aircraft design considerations and how engineers must iterate their designs to achieve success. Students first follow several basic paper airplane models, after which they will then design their own paper airplane. They will also learn how engineers make models to test ideas and designs.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alex Conner
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tom Rutkowski
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Water Bottle Rockets
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What makes rockets fly straight? What makes rockets fly far? Why use water to make the rocket fly? Students are challenged to design and build rockets from two-liter plastic soda bottles that travel as far and straight as possible or stay aloft as long as possible. Guided by the steps of the engineering design process, students first watch a video that shows rocket launch failures and then participate in three teacher-led mini-activities with demos to explore key rocket design concepts: center of drag, center of mass, and momentum and impulse. Then the class tests four combinations of propellants (air, water) and center of mass (weight added fore or aft) to see how these variables affect rocket distance and hang time. From what they learn, student pairs create their own rockets from plastic bottles with cardboard fins and their choices of propellant and center of mass placement, which they test and refine before a culminating engineering field day competition. Teams design for maximum distance or hang time; adding a parachute is optional. Students learn that engineering failures during design and testing are just steps along the way to success.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Duff Harrold
Sara Pace
Date Added:
02/07/2017
We Have Liftoff
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Educational Use
Rating

Building on an introduction to statics, dynamics free-body diagrams, combustion and thermodynamics provided by the associated lesson, students design, construct and test their own rocket engines using sugar and potassium nitrate an opportunity to apply their knowledge of stoichiometry. This activity helps students understand that the energy required to launch a rocket comes from the chemical energy stored in the rocket fuel. The performance of each engine is tested during a rocket launch, after which students determine the reasons for the success or failure of their rockets.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Robert Pardue
Taylor Dizon-Kelly
Date Added:
10/14/2015