All resources in PA STEM Toolkit

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Mini Car Design Challenge

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This engineering design challenge is a great hands-on activity that utilizes the engineering design process, 3D modeling, and 3D printing technology. The challenge can be completed individually or in groups of 2 to 3. Students will work to complete the following challenge: Using the design process, design, document, model, and produce a toy car with interchangeable parts.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: STEMToolkit Administrator

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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: STEMToolkit Administrator

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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: STEMToolkit Administrator

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Oil Spill Simulation

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Students will have the opportunity to work in groups and investigate the effects of an “oil spill” in a water body. In a simulated “ocean” (a pan of water), students will drop a small amount of oil into the water and see the effects and interaction. In an introduction to the workshop, students discuss sources of pollution and oil contamination in water bodies – from point sources (tanker spills) and non-point sources (vehicle run-off). A brief discussion on preventing and cleaning up oil contamination will lead into the activity, in which the students will use a variety of materials to see what method works best for recovering the most oil from the water. Students will develop a proposal explaining which materials and procedures work best for cleaning up an oil spill. Students will also create a presentation to share their proposal.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: STEMToolkit Administrator

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)

Heredity Mix n Match

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Students randomly select jelly beans (or other candy) that represent genes for several human traits such as tongue-rolling ability and eye color. Then, working in pairs (preferably of mixed gender), students randomly choose new pairs of jelly beans from those corresponding to their own genotypes. The new pairs are placed on toothpicks to represent the chromosomes of the couple's offspring. Finally, students compare genotypes and phenotypes of parents and offspring for all the "couples" in the class. In particular, they look to see if there are cases where parents and offspring share the exact same genotype and/or phenotype, and consider how the results would differ if they repeated the simulation using more than four traits.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: Mary R. Hebrank

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