In this unit of study students learn how an animal's body structure and behavior help it survive in its habitat. This unit integrates nine STEM attributes and was developed as part of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership's Teacher Leadership Team. Any instructional materials are included within this unit of study.
Students create four-legged walking robots and measure how far they travel across different types of surfaces. They design and create "shoes" to add to the robots' feet and observe the effect of their modifications on the net distance traveled across the various surface types. This activity illustrates how the specialized locomotive features of different species help them to survive or thrive in their habitat environments. The activity is best as an enrichment tool that follows a lesson that introduces the concept of biological adaptation to students.
Students learn more about how muscles work and how biomedical engineers can help keep the muscular system healthy. Following the engineering design process, they create their own biomedical device to aid in the recovery of a strained bicep. They discover the importance of rest to muscle recovery and that muscles (just like engineers!) work together to achieve a common goal.
In this unit of study students learn about different types of bridges and how to design and build their own bridge. This unit integrates nine STEM attributes and was developed as part of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership's Teacher Leadership Team. Any instructional materials are included within this unit of study.
Bridges come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and lengths and are found all over the world. It is important that bridges are strong so they are safe to cross. Design and build a your own model bridge. Test your bridge for strength using a force sensor that measures how hard you pull on your bridge. By observing a graph of the force, determine the amount of force needed to make your bridge collapse.
Students identify different bridge designs and construction materials used in modern day engineering. They work in construction teams to create paper bridges and spaghetti bridges based on existing bridge designs. Students progressively realize the importance of the structural elements in each bridge. They also measure vertical displacements under the center of the spaghetti bridge span when a load is applied. Vertical deflection is measured using a LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT intelligent brick and ultrasonic sensor. As they work, students experience tension and compression forces acting on structural elements of the two bridge prototypes. In conclusion, students discuss the material properties of paper and spaghetti and compare bridge designs with performance outcomes.
A bungee jump involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. Design a bungee jump that is "safe" for a hard-boiled egg. Create a safety egg harness and connect it to a rubber band, which is your the "bungee cord." Finally, attach your bungee cord to a force sensor to measures the forces that push or pull your egg.
A zip line is a way to glide from one point to another while hanging from a cable. Design and create a zip line that is safe for a hard-boiled egg. After designing a safety egg harness, connect the harness to fishing line or wire connected between two chairs of different heights using a paper clip. Learn to improve your zip line based on data. Attach a motion sensor at the bottom of your zip line and display a graph to show how smooth a ride your egg had!
Athletes often wear protective gear to keep themselves safe in contact sports. In this spirit, students follow the steps of engineering design process as they design, build and test protective padding for an egg drop. Many of the design considerations surrounding egg drops are similar to sports equipment design. Watching the transformation of energy from potential to kinetic, observing the impact and working under material constraints introduces students to "sports engineering" and gives them a chance to experience some of the challenges engineers face in designing equipment to protect athletes.
This unit consists of five lessons covering buoyancy and engineering boats. Each lesson includes goals, anticipatory set, learner objectives, guided practice, procedure instructions, closing activities, and extensions. Student handouts and worksheets are also included.
Lesson 1: Intro to Buoyancy
Lesson 2: Engineer a Barge
Lesson 3: Intro to Sails & Motion
Lesson 4: Engineer a Sailboat
Lesson 5: Final Vessel
NGSS: 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3
Lesson 1 materials: empty 2-liter bottles with tops cut off, pennies or other coins, marble, modeling clay, crap wood, rocks, pingpong ball, golf ball, popsicle stick, paper clip, scale, other object for floating or sinking
Lesson 2 materials: for each student - 12" x 12" piece of aluminum foil, 4 popsicle sticks, 2 straws, 12" masking tape; teacher pre-setup - enough pennies for testing (500 pennies per group), pool filled 2/3 with water
Lesson 3 materials: string/yarn, 1/2 straw for each student, 2 different types of paper (tissue & white copy paper), tape, scissors, fan, wooden skewers, 2 popsicle sticks per student, rulers, protractors, stencils.
Lesson 4 materials: 8 popsicle sticks, 1 wooden skewer, 1 straw, masking tape or duct tape, tissue paper or copy paper
Lesson 5 materials: same as Lesson 2
The COVID-19 Pandemic is a clear example of how science and society are connected. This unit explores how different communities are differentially impacted by the virus through the lens of historical inequities in society. In the context of decisions their families make, students explore the basics of how the virus affects people, and design investigations to explore how it spreads from person to person, and what we can do to prevent that spread.
This activity demonstrates the spectral nature of light and the identifiable features of the visible light spectrum. Students learn the elemental spectrum, and the ROYGBIV distribution of colors in a rainbow. Students compare the spectra of various light sources, and how to identify specific elements based on their spectral signature.
In this project students gain an understanding of the engineering design process by building a cardboard arcade game where winning or losing completes an electrical circuit. Students will present their arcade game to an audience of middle school or elementary school students. This project was developed by Allen Distinguished Educators Rob Rambach and Patrick Dempsey.
Students act as engineers contracted by NASA to create water filtration devices that clean visible particulates from teacher-prepared "dirty water." They learn about the worldwide need for potable water and gain appreciation for why water quality is an important issue for people on Earth as well as on the International Space Station. Working in groups, students experience the entire engineering design process, including a read-aloud book about the water cycle; a visiting water engineer presentation; their own online research about filter methods and designs; group brainstorming of designs (using ordinary household materials); filter construction and testing; redesign and retesting; lab book documentation of their notes, research, plans and results; and a summary poster presentation at a mini-engineering fair. Two design planning worksheets, a poster layout suggestion sheet and a grading rubric are provided.
This resource is for teachers to develop their knowledge around climate science along with NGSS-aligned teaching strategies . Teachers can learn more about the following climate change impacts: coastal hazards, fire, human health, floods & droughts, agriculture and species & ecosystems. Users should reference the "STEM Seminar Slides_Template" as a guide for a daylong training and use the other materials as supplemental information and resources.
We design and create objects to make our lives easier and more comfortable. The houses in which we live are excellent examples of this. Depending on your local climate, the features of your house have been designed to satisfy your particular environmental needs: protection from hot, cold, windy and/or rainy weather. In this activity, students design and build model houses, then test them against various climate elements, and then re-design and improve them. Using books, websites and photos, students learn about the different types of roofs found on various houses in different environments throughout the world.
Students learn about biomedical engineering while designing, building and testing prototype surgical tools to treat cancer. Students also learn that if cancer cells are not removed quickly enough during testing, a cancerous tumor may grow exponentially and become more challenging to eliminate. Students practice iterative design as they improve their surgical tools during the activity.
Students pretend they are agricultural engineers during the colonial period and design a miniature plow that cuts through a "field" of soil. They are introduced to the engineering design process and learn of several famous historical figures who contributed to plow design.
Students learn how the force of water helps determine the size and shape of dams. They use clay to build models of four types of dams, and observe the force of the water against each type. They conclude by deciding which type of dam they, as Splash Engineering engineers, will design for Thirsty County.