All resources in PA STEM Toolkit Workgroup Round 2 - Sandbox

Engineering Design Process PowerPoint

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This PowerPoint is a generic description of the Engineering Design Process that walks students through the 6 step process that works in a continual loop of defining the problem, generate concepts, develop a solution, construct and test a prototype, evaluate a solution, and present a solution. This PowerPoint offers stopping points to encourage question and answer sessions as well as discussion opportunities if teachers choose to relate it to a particular problem. It was originally posted and authored by Alexandrea Dunkelberger.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Jennifer Dunmire

Solar Cookers

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In this project students will research and then build a basic solar cooker shell made out of cardboard. Then they will run a variety of materials through experiments. Data from the experiments will be used to determine which materials should be added to the solar cooker shell to improve its ability to heat up food. This project was created as a collaboration between a science and an engineering/woodshop class. The engineering class researched and build the basic solar cooker cardboard shells. The science class tested additional materials to add to the shells to improve the solar cookers. Then the engineering class, following the directions from reports created by the science class, added the materials to the solar cooker shells to create the final products.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Reading, Unit of Study

Zipline Target Drop

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A park ranger needs to build a zipline to drop food supplies to her mentor park ranger at the bottom of a gorge. Unfortunately, she does not have the instructions to build the zipline according to the proper specifications. Without directions, she is unsure of the correct angles to attach her zipline to each tree. Additionally, she needs to figure out how to open the chute to drop the food supplies.  Challenge: Create a zip line that will release from her bucket (paper cup) the food supplies (represented by a marble) onto the target (placed 5/8 of the way down the zipline)  before the gear reaches the opposite end of the zip line.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Jennifer Dunmire

Ramp and Review (for High School)

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In this hands-on activity rolling a ball down an incline and having it collide into a cup the concepts of mechanical energy, work and power, momentum, and friction are all demonstrated. During the activity, students take measurements and use equations that describe these energy of motion concepts to calculate unknown variables and review the relationships between these concepts.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Ben Sprague, Chris Yakacki, Denise W. Carlson, Janet Yowell, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Acquired or Inherited? These are my genes!

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In this project, each student will be assigned to a group of three to four students. Each group will be given random character description cards. These characters will be treated as the first generation in a fictitious town. The cards will include specific genetic traits, skills, jobs, as well as reference if the character suffers from type 2 diabetes. Students will need to use the character cards to author and illustrate a short story about the fictitious town which follows at least three generations of the families in the cards. Students must also include pedigrees for a minimum of three traits as well as diabetes as evidence of inheritance.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Lesson Plan

Author: Pam Oliveira

Electric Field Hockey (AR)

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Play hockey with electric charges. Place charges on the ice, then hit start to try to get the puck in the goal. View the electric field. Trace the puck's motion. Make the game harder by placing walls in front of the goal. This is a clone of the popular simulation of the same name marketed by Physics Academic Software and written by Prof. Ruth Chabay of the Dept of Physics at North Carolina State University.

Material Type: Simulation

Authors: Danielle Harlow, Michael Dubson, Sam Reid, Wendy Adams

Build and Test a Model Solar House

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Construct and measure the energy efficiency and solar heat gain of a cardboard model house. Use a light bulb heater to imitate a real furnace and a temperature sensor to monitor and regulate the internal temperature of the house. Use a bright bulb in a gooseneck lamp to model sunlight at different times of the year, and test the effectiveness of windows for passive solar heating.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Lecture Notes, Student Guide

Author: The Concord Consortium

Spaghetti Bridge

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Civil engineers design structures such as buildings, dams, highways and bridges. Student teams explore the field of engineering by making bridges using spaghetti as their primary building material. Then they test their bridges to see how much weight they can carry before breaking.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Balsa Towers

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Students groups use balsa wood and glue to build their own towers using some of the techniques they learned from the associated lesson. While general guidelines are provided, give students freedom with their designs and encourage them to implement what they have learned about structural engineering. The winning team design is the tower with the highest strength-to-weight ratio.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Benjamin Burnham, Kelly Devereaux