At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, ...

At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle, Bernoulli's principle, and why above-ground storage tanks are of major concern in the Houston Ship Channel and other coastal areas. In this culminating activity, student groups act as engineering design teams to derive equations to determine the stability of specific above-ground storage tank scenarios with given tank specifications and liquid contents. With their floatation analyses completed and the stability determined, students analyze the tank stability in specific storm conditions. Then, teams are challenged to come up with improved storage tank designs to make them less vulnerable to uplift, displacement and buckling in storm conditions. Teams present their analyses and design ideas in short class presentations.

Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn ...

Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn about a good robot design and the accelerometer sensor. They also learn about the relationship between centripetal acceleration and centripetal force governed by the radius between the motor and accelerometer and the amount of mass at the end of the robot's arm. Students graph and analyze data collected from an accelerometer, and learn to design robots with proper weight distribution across the robot for their robotic arms. Upon using a data logging program, they view their own data collected during the activity. By activity end , students understand how a change in radius or mass can affect the data obtained from the accelerometer through the plots generated from the data logging program. More specifically, students learn about the accuracy and precision of the accelerometer measurements from numerous trials.

Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use ...

Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use this model to learn about Newton's three laws of motion, examining the effect of different forces on the motion of the rocket.

In this lab-based activity the students will use their knowledge about the ...

In this lab-based activity the students will use their knowledge about the law of conservation of energy to explain the loss of heat by warm water to cold water. Then, the students will use these concepts to design and carry an experiment to determine the unknown temperature of a hot water sample.

In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science ...

In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science and see that work is made easier through the use of simple machines. Already encountering simple machines everyday, students will be alerted to their widespread uses in everyday life. This lesson serves as the starting point for the Simple Machines Unit.

Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do ...

Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do not usually notice it. In this activity, students learn about the units of pressure and get a sense of just how much air pressure is pushing on them.

Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The ...

Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of engineering design associated with kinetic and potential energy to build an optimal roller coaster. The marble starts with potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy as it moves along the track. The diameter of the loops that the marble traverses without falling out depends on the kinetic energy obtained by the marble.

Students prepare for the associated activity in which they investigate acceleration by ...

Students prepare for the associated activity in which they investigate acceleration by collecting acceleration vs. time data using the accelerometer of a sliding Android device. Based on the experimental set-up for the activity, students form hypotheses about the acceleration of the device. Students will investigate how the force on the device changes according to Newton's Second Law. Different types of acceleration, including average, instantaneous and constant acceleration, are introduced. Acceleration and force is described mathematically and in terms of processes and applications.

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and ...

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and data collection using Android® devices. First, student groups create pendulums that hang from the classroom ceiling, using Android smartphones or tablets as the bobs, taking advantage of their built-in accelerometers. With the Android devices loaded with the (provided) AccelDataCapture app, groups explore the periodic motion of the pendulums, changing variables (amplitude, mass, length) to see what happens, by visual observation and via the app-generated graphs. Then teams conduct formal experiments to alter one variable while keeping all other parameters constant, performing numerous trials, identifying independent/dependent variables, collecting data and using the simple pendulum equation. Through these experiments, students investigate how pendulums move and the changing forces they experience, better understanding the relationship between a pendulum's motion and its amplitude, length and mass. They analyze the data, either on paper or by importing into a spreadsheet application. As an extension, students may also develop their own algorithms in a provided App Inventor framework in order to automatically note the time of each period.

Antimatter, the charge reversed equivalent of matter, has captured the imaginations of ...

Antimatter, the charge reversed equivalent of matter, has captured the imaginations of science fiction fans for years as a perfectly efficient form of energy. While normal matter consists of atoms with negatively charged electrons orbiting positively charged nuclei, antimatter consists of positively charged positrons orbiting negatively charged anti-nuclei. When antimatter and matter meet, both substances are annihilated, creating massive amounts of energy. Instances in which antimatter is portrayed in science fiction stories (such as Star Trek) are examined, including their purposes (fuel source, weapons, alternate universes) and properties. Students compare and contrast matter and antimatter, learn how antimatter can be used as a form of energy, and consider potential engineering applications for antimatter.

Students are introduced to Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and Bernoulli's principle. Fundamental ...

Students are introduced to Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and Bernoulli's principle. Fundamental definitions, equations, practice problems and engineering applications are supplied. A PowerPoint® presentation, practice problems and grading rubric are provided.

Students learn how forces are used in the creation of art. They ...

Students learn how forces are used in the creation of art. They come to understand that it is not just bridge and airplane designers who are concerned about how forces interact with objects, but artists as well. As "paper engineers," students create their own mobiles and pop-up books, and identify and use the forces (air currents, gravity, hand movement) acting upon them.

This lecture/activity on force will further a students' understanding of forces on ...

This lecture/activity on force will further a students' understanding of forces on an object, as well as the difference between a balanced and unbalanced forces.

In this structured inquiry activity students will work in groups/ teams to ...

In this structured inquiry activity students will work in groups/ teams to build a balloon rocket of their own design. The rocket will race in one dimension and require that they apply their knowledge of position, time, and velocity.

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process as they design ...

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process as they design and construct balloons for aerial surveillance. After their first attempts to create balloons, they are given the associated Estimating Buoyancy lesson to learn about volume, buoyancy and density to help them iterate more successful balloon designs.Applying their newfound knowledge, the young engineers build and test balloons that fly carrying small flip cameras that capture aerial images of their school. Students use the aerial footage to draw maps and estimate areas.

Students learn about material properties, and that engineers must consider many different ...

Students learn about material properties, and that engineers must consider many different materials properties when designing. This activity focuses on strength-to-weight ratios and how sometimes the strongest material is not always the best material.

Bernoulli's principle relates the pressure of a fluid to its elevation and ...

Bernoulli's principle relates the pressure of a fluid to its elevation and its speed. Bernoulli's equation can be used to approximate these parameters in water, air or any fluid that has very low viscosity. Students learn about the relationships between the components of the Bernoulli equation through real-life engineering examples and practice problems.

Students use the scientific method to determine the effect of control surfaces ...

Students use the scientific method to determine the effect of control surfaces on a paper glider. They construct paper airplanes (model gliders) and test their performance to determine the base characteristics of the planes. Then they change one of the control surfaces and compare the results to their base glider in order to determine the cause and effect relationship of the control surfaces.

Rockets need a lot of thrust to get into space. In this ...

Rockets need a lot of thrust to get into space. In this lesson, students learn how rocket thrust is generated with propellant. The two types of propellants are discussed and relation to their use on rockets is investigated. Students learn why engineers need to know the different properties of propellants.

Students make a skydiver and parachute contraption to demonstrate how drag caused ...

Students make a skydiver and parachute contraption to demonstrate how drag caused by air resistance slows the descent of skydivers as they travel back to Earth. Gravity pulls the skydiver toward the Earth, while the air trapped by the parachute provides an upward resisting force (drag) on the skydiver.

Students revisit the mathematics required to find bone mineral density, to which ...

Students revisit the mathematics required to find bone mineral density, to which they were introduced in lesson 2 of this unit. They learn the equation to find intensity, Beer's law, and how to use it. Then they complete a sheet of practice problems that use the equation.

Students examine an image produced by a cabinet x-ray system to determine ...

Students examine an image produced by a cabinet x-ray system to determine if it is a quality bone mineral density image. They write in their journals about what they need to know to be able to make this judgment. Students learn about what bone mineral density is, how a BMD image can be obtained, and how it is related to the x-ray field. Students examine the process used to obtain a BMD image and how this process is related to mathematics, primarily through logarithmic functions. They study the relationship between logarithms and exponents, the properties of logarithms, common and natural logarithms, solving exponential equations and Beer's law.

Students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces, giving ...

Students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces, giving plenty of opportunity for them to see the difference between elastic and inelastic collisions, learn how to calculate momentum, and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.

In this activity, students examine how different balls react when colliding with ...

In this activity, students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces. Also, they will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to calculate momentum and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.

Students build their own small-scale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and ...

Students build their own small-scale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects to design roller coasters that are completely driven by gravity. A class competition using different marbles types to represent different passenger loads determines the most innovative and successful roller coasters.

Students create and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic ...

Students create and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. A holographic diffraction grating acts like a prism, showing the visual components of light. After building the spectrographs, students observe the spectra of different light sources as homework.

Students design and construct electromagnets that must pick up 10 staples. They ...

Students design and construct electromagnets that must pick up 10 staples. They begin with only minimal guidance, and after the basic concept is understood, are informed of the properties that affect the strength of that magnet. They conclude by designing their own electromagnets to complete the challenge of separating scrap steel from scrap aluminum for recycling, and share it with the class.

Students conduct a simple experiment to see how the water level changes ...

Students conduct a simple experiment to see how the water level changes in a beaker when a lump of clay sinks in the water and when the same lump of clay is shaped into a bowl that floats in the water. They notice that the floating clay displaces more water than the sinking clay does, perhaps a surprising result. Then they determine the mass of water that is displaced when the clay floats in the water. A comparison of this mass to the mass of the clay itself reveals that they are approximately the same.

This lab demonstrates Ohm's law as students set up simple circuits each ...

This lab demonstrates Ohm's law as students set up simple circuits each composed of a battery, lamp and resistor. Students calculate the current flowing through the circuits they create by solving linear equations. After solving for the current, I, for each set resistance value, students plot the three points on a Cartesian plane and note the line that is formed. They also see the direct correlation between the amount of current flowing through the lamp and its brightness.

This lesson introduces students to the concept of air pressure. Students will ...

This lesson introduces students to the concept of air pressure. Students will explore how air pressure creates force on an object. They will study the relationship between air pressure and the velocity of moving air.

Students observe Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and the ideal gas law as ...

Students observe Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and the ideal gas law as a Cartesian diver moves within a closed system. The Cartesian diver is neutrally buoyant and begins to sink when an external pressure is applied to the closed system. A basic explanation and proof of this process is provided in this activity, and supplementary ideas for more extensive demonstrations and independent group activities are presented.

Students observe the relationship between the angle of a catapult (a force ...

Students observe the relationship between the angle of a catapult (a force measurement) and the flight of a cotton ball. They learn how Newton's second law of motion works by seeing directly that F = ma. When they pull the metal "arm" back further, thus applying a greater force to the cotton ball, it causes the cotton ball to travel faster and farther. Students also learn that objects of greater mass require more force to result in the same distance traveled by a lighter object.

Students are introduced to several key concepts of electronic circuits. They learn ...

Students are introduced to several key concepts of electronic circuits. They learn about some of the physics behind circuits, the key components in a circuit and their pervasiveness in our homes and everyday lives. Students learn about Ohm's Law and how it is used to analyze circuits.

Students use the same method as in the activity from lesson 2 ...

Students use the same method as in the activity from lesson 2 of this unit to explore the magnetism due to electric current instead of a permanent magnet. Students use a compass and circuit to trace the magnetic field lines induced by the electric current moving through the wire. Students develop an understanding of the effect of the electrical current on the compass needle through the induced magnetic field and understand the complexity of a three dimensional field system.

Hydropower generation is introduced to students as a common purpose and benefit ...

Hydropower generation is introduced to students as a common purpose and benefit of constructing dams. Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how a dam creates electricity. They also learn the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy.

Students are challenged to design a method for separating steel from aluminum ...

Students are challenged to design a method for separating steel from aluminum based on magnetic properties as is frequently done in recycling operations. To complicate the challenge, the magnet used to separate the steel must be able to be switched off to allow for the recollection of the steel. Students must ultimately design, test, and present an effective electromagnet.

As a continuation of the theme of potential and kinetic energy, this ...

As a continuation of the theme of potential and kinetic energy, this lesson introduces the concepts of momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions. Many sports and games, such as baseball and ping-pong, illustrate the ideas of momentum and collisions. Students explore these concepts by bouncing assorted balls on different surfaces and calculating the momentum for each ball.

With the help of simple, teacher-led demonstration activities, students learn the basic ...

With the help of simple, teacher-led demonstration activities, students learn the basic concepts of heat transfer by means of conduction, convection, and radiation. Students then apply these concepts as they work in teams to solve two problems. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately body temperature, and the other problem is to cause an identical soda can of warm water to cool as much as possible during the same thirty-minute time interval. Students design their solutions using only common, everyday materials. They record the water temperatures in their two soda cans every five minutes, and prepare line graphs in order to visually compare their results to the temperature of an unaltered control can of water.

Students teams design and build shoe prototypes that convert between high heels ...

Students teams design and build shoe prototypes that convert between high heels and athletic shoes. They apply their knowledge about the mechanics of walking and running as well as shoe design (as learned in the associated lesson) to design a multifunctional shoe that is both fashionable and functional.

Students learn about using renewable energy from the Sun for heating and ...

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 about the physical force of linear momentum movement in a ...

Students learn about the physical force of linear momentum movement in a straight line by investigating collisions. They learn an equation that engineers use to describe momentum. Students also investigate the psychological phenomenon of momentum; they see how the "big mo" of the bandwagon effect contributes to the development of fads and manias, and how modern technology and mass media accelerate and intensify the effect.

Students learn about the role engineers and mathematicians play in developing the ...

Students learn about the role engineers and mathematicians play in developing the perfect bungee cord length by simulating and experimenting with bungee jumping using washers and rubber bands. Working as if they are engineers for a (hypothetical) amusement park, students are challenged to develop a show-stopping bungee jumping ride that is safe. To do this, they must find the maximum length of the bungee cord that permits jumpers (such as brave Washy!) to get as close to the ground as possible without going "splat"! This requires them to learn about force and displacement and run an experiment. Student teams collect and plot displacement data and calculate the slope, linear equation of the line of best fit and spring constant using Hooke's law. Students make hypotheses, interpret scatter plots looking for correlations, and consider possible sources of error. An activity worksheet, pre/post quizzes and a PowerPoint® presentation are included.

In this first part of a two-part lab activity, students use triple ...

In this first part of a two-part lab activity, students use triple balance beams and graduated cylinders to take measurements and calculate the densities of several common, irregularly shaped objects with the purpose to resolve confusion about mass and density. After this activity, conduct the associated Density Column Lab - Part 2 activity before presenting the associated Density & Miscibility lesson for discussion about concepts that explain what students have observed.

In this lab activity, students determine density differences of water samples with ...

In this lab activity, students determine density differences of water samples with varying temperature and salinity levels. Students synthesize information to predict the effects of oil in given water samples.

Students use two different methods to determine the densities of a variety ...

Students use two different methods to determine the densities of a variety of materials and objects. The first method involves direct measurement of the volumes of objects that have simple geometric shapes. The second is the water displacement method, used to determine the volumes of irregularly shaped objects. After the densities are determined, students create x-y scatter graphs of mass versus volume, which reveal that objects with densities less than water (floaters) lie above the graph's diagonal (representing the density of water), and those with densities greater than water (sinkers) lie below the diagonal.

Using the same method for measuring friction that was used in the ...

Using the same method for measuring friction that was used in the previous lesson (Discovering Friction), students design and conduct experiments to determine if the amount of area over which an object contacts a surface it is moving across affects the amount of friction encountered.

Student groups are provided with a generic car base on which to ...

Student groups are provided with a generic car base on which to design a device/enclosure to protect an egg on or in the car as it rolls down a ramp at increasing slopes. During this in-depth physics/science/technology activity, student teams design, build and test their creations to meet the design challenge, and are expected to perform basic mathematical calculations using collected data, including a summative cost to benefit ratio.

Students see how surface tension can enable light objects (paper clips, peppercorns) ...

Students see how surface tension can enable light objects (paper clips, peppercorns) to float on an island of oil in water, and subsequently sink when the surface tension of the oil/water interface is reduced by the addition of a surfactant; such as ordinary dish soap.

Students use a compass and a permanent magnet to trace the magnetic ...

Students use a compass and a permanent magnet to trace the magnetic field lines produced by the magnet. By positioning the compass in enough spots around the magnet, the overall magnet field will be evident from the collection of arrows representing the direction of the compass needle. In activities 3 and 4 of this unit, students will use this information to design a way to solve the grand challenge of separating metal for a recycling company.

Students use a watt meter to measure energy input into a hot ...

Students use a watt meter to measure energy input into a hot plate or hot pot used to heat water. The theoretical amount of energy required to raise the water by the measure temperature change is calculated and compared to the electrical energy input to calculate efficiency.

Students learn to apply the principles and concepts associated with energy and ...

Students learn to apply the principles and concepts associated with energy and the transfer of energy in an engineering context by designing and making musical instruments. They choose from a variety of provided supplies to make instruments capable of producing three different tones. After completing their designs, students explain the energy transfer mechanism in detail and describe how they could make their instruments better.

Demos and activities in this lesson are intended to illustrate the basic ...

Demos and activities in this lesson are intended to illustrate the basic concepts of energy science -- work, force, energy, power etc. and the relationships among them. The "lecture" portion of the lesson includes many demonstrations to keep students engaged, yet has high expectations for the students to perform energy related calculations and convert units as required. A homework assignment and quiz are used to reinforce and assess these basic engineering science concepts.

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