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  • Engineering K-PhD Program,
All Caught Up
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Commercial fishing nets often trap "unprofitable" animals in the process of catching target species. In this activity, students experience the difficulty that fishermen experience while trying to isolate a target species when a variety of sea animals are found in the area of interest. Then the class discusses the large magnitude of this problem. Students practice data acquisition and analysis skills by collecting data and processing it to deduce trends on target species distribution. They conclude by discussing how bycatch impacts their lives and whether or not it is an important environmental issue that needs attention. As an extension, students use their creativity and innovative skills to design nets or other methods, theoretically and/or through hands-on prototyping, that fisherman could use to help avoid bycatch.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Ecology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Amy Whitt, Nicholas School of the Environment
Angela Jiang, Pratt School of Engineering
Aruna Venkatesan, Pratt School of Engineering
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Matt Nusnbaum, Pratt School of Engineering
Vicki Thayer, Nicholas School of the Environment
Date Added:
10/14/2015
The Benefits of Biodiversity
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Students toss coins to determine what traits a set of mouse parents possess, such as fur color, body size, heat tolerance, and running speed. Then they use coin tossing to determine the traits a mouse pup born to these parents possesses. Then they compare these physical features to features that would be most adaptive in several different environmental conditions. Finally, students consider what would happen to the mouse offspring if those environmental conditions were to change: which mice would be most likely to survive and produce the next generation?

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Genetics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project and lesson/activity consultant)
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Bombs Away!
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Students design and build devices to protect and accurately deliver dropped eggs. The devices and their contents represent care packages that must be safely delivered to people in a disaster area with no road access. Similar to engineering design teams, students design their devices using a number of requirements and constraints such as limited supplies and time. The activity emphasizes the change from potential energy to kinetic energy of the devices and their contents and the energy transfer that occurs on impact. Students enjoy this competitive challenge as they attain a deeper understanding of mechanical energy concepts.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Dan Choi, MUSIC Program
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Randall Evans, MUSIC Program
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Boxed In and Wrapped Up
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Students find the volume and surface area of a rectangular box (e.g., a cereal box), and then figure out how to convert that box into a new, cubical box having the same volume as the original. As they construct the new, cube-shaped box from the original box material, students discover that the cubical box has less surface area than the original, and thus, a cube is a more efficient way to package things. Students then consider why consumer goods generally aren't packaged in cube-shaped boxes, even though they would require less material to produce and ultimately, less waste to discard. To display their findings, each student designs and constructs a mobile that contains a duplicate of his or her original box, the new cube-shaped box of the same volume, the scraps that are left over from the original box, and pertinent calculations of the volumes and surface areas involved. The activities involved provide valuable experience in problem solving with spatial-visual relationships.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
09/18/2014
The Boxes Go Mobile
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To display the results from the previous activity, each student designs and constructs a mobile that contains a duplicate of his or her original box, the new cube-shaped box of the same volume, the scraps that are left over from the original box, and pertinent calculations of the volumes and surface areas involved. They problem solve and apply their understanding of see-saws and lever systems to create balanced mobiles.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Building Roller Coasters
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Scott Liddle
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Buoyant Boats
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Bury Your Trash!
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Students bury various pieces of trash in a plotted area of land outside. After two to three months, they uncover the trash to investigate what types of materials biodegrade in soil.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Roarke Horstmeyer
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Can You Hear It?
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Students drop marbles into holes cut into shoebox lids and listen carefully to try to determine the materials inside the box that the marbles fall onto, illustrating the importance of surface composition on dolphins' abilities to sense materials, depth and texture using echolocation. This activity builds on what students learned in the associated lesson about bycatching by fisheries and how it affects marine habitats and species, especially dolphins. Students learn how echolocation works, why certain animals use it to determine the size, shape and distance of objects, and how people can take advantage of dolphins' echolocation ability when developing bycatch avoidance methods.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Amy Whitt, Nicholas School of the Environment
Angela Jiang, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
Aruna Venkatesan, Pratt School of Engineering
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Matt Nusnbaum, Pratt School of Engineering
Vicki Thayer, Nicholas School of the Environment
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Can You Taste It?
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Few people are aware of how crucial the sense of smell is to identifying foods, or the adaptive value of being able to identify a food as being familiar and therefore safe to eat. In this lesson and activity, students conduct an experiment to determine whether or not the sense of smell is important to being able to recognize foods by taste. The teacher leads a discussion that allows students to explore why it might be adaptive for humans and other animals to be able to identify nutritious versus noxious foods. This is followed by a demonstration in which a volunteer tastes and identifies a familiar food, and then attempts to taste and identify a different familiar food while holding his or her nose and closing his or her eyes. Then, the class develops a hypothesis and a means to obtain quantitative results for an experiment to determine whether students can identify foods when the sense of smell has been eliminated.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Nutrition Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project and lesson/activity consultant)
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Caught in the Net
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Ecology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Amy Whitt, Nicholas School of the Environment
Angela Jiang, Pratt School of Engineering
Aruna Venkatesan, Pratt School of Engineering
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Matt Nusnbaum, Pratt School of Engineering
Vicki Thayer, Nicholas School of the Environment
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cereal Magnets
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Student groups compete to design a process that removes the most iron from fortified cereal. Students experiment with different materials using what they know about iron, magnets and forces to design the best process for removing iron from the cereal samples.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Liz Harper
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Clay Boats
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Students use a small quantity of modeling clay to make boats that float in a tub of water. The object is to build boats that hold as much weight as possible without sinking. In the process of designing and testing their prototype creations, students discover some of the basic principles of boat design, gain first-hand experience with concepts such as buoyancy and density, and experience the steps of the engineering design process.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Art and Design
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant )
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Conduction, Convection and Radiation
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Full Course
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant ), Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Determining Densities
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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.

Subject:
Education
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Dirty Decomposers
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Students design and conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots will have decomposed completely.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Does Contact Area Matter?
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Mary R. Hebrank (project writer and consultant)
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Electrifying the World
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This lesson introduces students to the fundamental concepts of electricity. This is accomplished by addressing questions such as "How is electricity generated," and "How is it used in every-day life?" The lesson also includes illustrative examples of circuit diagrams to help explain how electricity flows.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Technology and Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Wendy Lin
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Energetic Musical Instruments
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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.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Adam Kempton
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Energy Transfer in Musical Instruments
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This lesson covers concepts of energy and energy transfer utilizing energy transfer in musical instruments as an example. More specifically, the lesson explains the two different ways in which energy can be transferred between a system and its environment. The law of conservation of energy will also be taught. Example systems will be presented to students (two cars on a track and a tennis ball falling to the ground) and students will be asked to make predictions and explain the energy transfer mechanisms. The engineering focus comes in clearly in the associated activity when students are asked to apply the fundamental concepts of the lesson to design a musical instrument. The systems analyzed in the lesson should help a great deal in terms of discussing how to apply conservation of energy and energy transfer to make things.

Subject:
Technology and Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Adam Kempton
Engineering K-PhD Program,
Date Added:
09/18/2014