PA STEM Toolkit

The STEM Toolkit Workgroup will identify and/or design, review, and curate integrated K-12 STEM lessons that are coherent with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's vision, mission, and belief structure for STEM Education. Partners: Montgomery County IU, Tuscarora Intermediate Unit, Berks county Intermediate Unit, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit, Intermediate Unit 1, Lincoln Intermediate Unit, Schuylkill Intermediate Unit, Central Intermediate Unit, Pennsylvania Teachers Advisory Committee, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network Priorities: Diversify and increase the number of Pennsylvania Educators prepared to provide effective STEM Education for every learner. Diversify and increase the number of Pennsylvania students engaged in STEM experiences.
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All resources in PA STEM Toolkit

Think Outside the Bottle

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The Challenge: The challenge is to design and build a water filtration device using commonly available materials. To meet this challenge, students use an iterative repeating process as they build, test, and measure the performance of the filtration device, analyze the data collected, and use this information to work towards an improved filtration design. It is the same design process used by engineers and scientists working on ECLSS for NASA. Although students will work in teams of two–three, they are encouraged to think of their entire class as a single design team working cooperatively and learning from the efforts of all members in order to produce the best water filtration device. Students measure the effectiveness of their filtration device using pH test strips. Detailed plans and a complete materials list are provided.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: heather mahon (berk)

Ablative Shield Egg Data Sheet

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You will present students with a challenge: build a structure from different materials that will protect a model of the Ares launch vehicles (a raw egg) from the heat of a propane torch for as long as possible. Then they design, build, test, and revise their own thermal protection systems. They document their designs with sketches and written descriptions. As a culmination, students compile their results into a poster and present them to the class. This activity explores the concepts of energy transfer with the following standards: • Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat and light. • Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: heather mahon (berk)

Mapping Earthquakes to Save the World

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In the Mapping Earthquakes to Save the World activity, students leverage real-time data to plot earthquakes on a world map. The fate of the world is in their hands – the President of the United States has asked for their help to save humankind. Students identify patterns in their data and connect earthquakes with tectonic plates, making recommendations back to the President about where people are safe and where people are most at risk. This activity was heavily inspired by a project from the Stevens Institute for Technology Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.

Material Type: Lesson

Author: Eli Sheldon

Save the Penguins!

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In Save the Penguins, the broad context is global climate change. Students learn that the energy we use to heat and cool our houses comes from power plants, most of which use fossil fuels to convert chemical energy to electrical energy. The burning of fossil fuels has been linked to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn has been linked to increases in global temperature. This change in temperature has widespread effects upon life on Earth. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere, primarily on the icy continent of Antarctica. As the Earth warms and ice melts, penguins lose habitat. Therefore, students see that better-designed houses that use less energy for heating and cooling can have an effect on penguins. Energy efficient houses that minimize unnecessary heat transfer will draw less electricity from the fossil fuel burning power plants and not contribute as much to global climate change.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: heather mahon (berk)

Build a Thermos

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Getting Started: This lesson is designed to be used within the heat transfer unit as an engineering design project. My goal is to teach students: The difference in heat conductivity of different materials. Engage students in thinking about the principles of engineering (designing to meet criteria determined by the desired result). Total class time: 170 minutes (2 class blocks, 1 period for demo, in-class design, 1 period for student-requested informational experiments).

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: heather mahon (berk)

Body System Amusement Parks

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In the Body System Amusement Parks project, students team up to create amusement parks based on the various systems and organs within the human body. With the power of abstraction, each attraction represents the cardiovascular system, the muscular system, the digestive system, etc. Teams create both 3D scale models and presentations to an unnamed wealthy investment firm looking to build a new park in the students’ very own town. This activity was heavily inspired by a post from Danielle Dace.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Eli Sheldon

Gravity Design Brief

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Students are going to be working in an Engineering Design team to create a car using K’Nex pieces. They will work through 3 iterations of design in a goal to have their car travel 600 CM. They will use a ramp (defined in the lesson) to have their car gain momentum. They will also create a 3D Printed wheel to be attached to their design and determine if this has improved their design. Teacher/Student Guide Links to 3D Design Videos Project Rubric

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Eric Verno

Mission to Mars

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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.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

The Egg-cellent Egg Launch

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In this activity, students will learn about and apply the Laws of Physics to successfully launch and land a raw egg. The activity frames the problem around designing and building a bottle rocket that will protect a raw egg being launched into the air at least seven meters. Resources included in this lesson are found at the bottom of this document and include: -Teacher guide -Physics note sheets on motion, speed, velocity, acceleration, momentum, force, friction, Newton’s Laws of Motion, potential and kinetic energy and gravity. -Egg Launch Instructions -Link to Bottle Rocket Launching Instructions -Links to videos -Post Assessment

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Unit of Study

Author: Jennifer Ennis

Stormwater Management in Residential Properties

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This problem- based learning lesson looks at the increase of stormwater runoff due to effects of humans continuing to develop more and more of the landscape by building roads, streets, sidewalks, factories, etc. Students will analyze the benefits of using green infrastructure to reduce the amount of runoff in their community and increase biodiversity. Each lab group will play the role of a resident in a community. Their goal is to use the engineering design process to create a model showing how they will decrease stormwater runoff and increase biodiversity. The lesson ends with each lab group presenting their green infrastructure plan to a board. Please note that this lesson focuses specifically on the City of Lancaster in PA, however, documents can be modified depending your specific location.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson

Author: Carly Kessler

Engineering Design Prototype - Simple Machines

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In this activity, students will learn about and apply the Engineering Design Process to solve a problem. While working through the steps of the Engineering Design process they will focus on defining the criteria and constraints of a design problem, learn about scientific principles of simple machines, understand tool and machine safety, and create a prototype solution to the problem. The activity frames the problem around researching, designing, building and testing a prototype that is built with at least one simple machine that will launch a ball into a target. At end of unit students test their prototypes and present their findings of working through the process. ● Project Rubric

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Lecture Notes, Unit of Study

Author: Jana Bonds

Raystown Lake UBD

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Students will learn about the water cycle, watersheds, and point and non-point source pollution. Students will then apply this knowledge to take a position in the debate about the proposed development at Hawn's Bridge Peninsula at Raystown Lake and write a letter to the editor expressing their opinion.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Module

Author: Lorenn Schouppe-Wright