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.
This Force and motion Roller Coaster activity was done with my 5th grade class and they enjoyed it. It took longer than a normal science period but was a fun end of the year activity to help students stay engaged to their learning. Graphic created by Ashley Moses Author: Ashley Moses Date Added: 06/14/2021Creative Commons Attribution Language: English
How can you tell if harmful bacteria are in your food or water that might make you sick? What you eat or drink can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins—pathogens that can be harmful or even fatal. Students learn which contaminants have the greatest health risks and how they enter the food supply. While food supply contaminants can be identified from cultures grown in labs, bioengineers are creating technologies to make the detection of contaminated food quicker, easier and more effective.
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.
Earthquakes happen when forces in the Earth cause violent shaking of the ground. Earthquakes can be very destructive to buildings and other man-made structures. Design and build various types of buildings, then test your buildings for earthquake resistance using a shake table and a force sensor that measures how hard a force pushes or pulls your building.
Students use their knowledge of tornadoes and damage. The students will work in groups to design a structure that will withstand and protect people from tornadoes. Each group will create a poster with the name of their engineering firm and a picture of their structure. Finally, each group will present their posters to the class.
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
In the exploration of ways to use solar energy, students investigate the thermal energy storage capacities of different test materials to determine which to use in passive solar building design.
Students learn how the aerodynamics and rolling resistance of a car affect its energy efficiency through designing and constructing model cars out of simple materials. As the little cars are raced down a tilted track (powered by gravity) and propelled off a ramp, students come to understand the need to maximize the energy efficiency of their cars. The most energy-efficient cars roll down the track the fastest and the most aerodynamic cars jump the farthest. Students also work with variables and plot how a car's speed changes with the track angle.
In some cities, especially large cities such as Los Angeles or Mexico City, visible air pollution is a major problem, both for human health and the environment. A variety of sources contribute to air pollution, but personal vehicles account for one of the main sources. Though each car has relatively low emissions when compared to vehicles of the 1970s, there are so many more cars on the road now that their emissions play a large role in overall pollution. In this activity, students think about alternate ways to power a vehicle to reduce emissions. Student teams design an eco-friendly car using the engineering design process, and make a presentation to showcase their product.
Bycatch can be defined as the act of unintentionally catching certain living creatures using fishing gear. A bycatched species is distinguished from a target species (the animal the gear is intended to catch) because it is not sold or used. Marine mammals (whales, dolphins, porpoises), seabirds, sea turtles and unwanted or undersized fish are some examples of animals caught as by-catch The incidental capture of these animals can significantly reduce their populations. The most well known example of by-catch may be the unintentional mortality of spotted and spinner dolphins in the tuna fishing industry. "Dolphin-Safe" tuna was a result of this interaction (Be prepared to discuss how this came about with students, as it is something close to their daily lives). One important aspect to consider when discussing this issue is that laws protect some of the animals caught as by-catch (Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act). In this lesson, students will first be shown pictures of entangled marine animals and will discuss the definition of by-catch This will lead to discussions on why by-catching exists, how it impacts specific animals as well as humans, whether the students believe it is an important issue, and how by-catch can be reduced.
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.
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 using renewable energy from the Sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. They explore the concepts of insulation, reflection, absorption, conduction and convection.
Students learn the meaning of preservation and conservation and identify themselves and others as preservationists or conservationists in relation to specific environmental issues. They use Venn diagrams to clarify the similarities and differences in viewpoints. They see how an environmental point-of-view affects the approach to an engineering problem.
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.
This is a highly adaptable outline for how design thinking could be introduced to your learners over a multi-day project. This plan works best if students are divided up into groups of 3-4 for all work except the introduction to each concept at the beginning of class. Learners should stay in the same group for the whole class.
Includes pre-work links, general instructions to guide planning for each day, design thinking student handouts, and multi-grade NGSS standards linked to design thinking.
The purpose of this activity is for the students to draw a design for their own flying machine. They will apply their knowledge of aircraft design and the forces acting on them. The students will start with a brainstorming activity where they come up with creative uses for every day objects. They will then use their creativity and knowledge of airplanes to design their own flying machine.