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  • RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
A Daily Dose of Sun Keeps the Pests Away: How Soil Solarization Works
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Students learn how the process of soil solarization is used to pasteurize agricultural fields before planting crops. Soil solarization is a pest control technique in agriculture that uses the sun’s radiation to heat the soil and eliminate unwanted pests that could harm the crops. The approach is compared to other pest control methods such as fumigation and herbicide application, highlighting the respective benefits and drawbacks. In preparation for the associated hands-on activity on soil biosolarization, students learn how changing the variables involved in the solarizing process (such as the tarp material, soil water content and addition of organic matter) impacts the technique’s effectiveness. A PowerPoint® presentation and pre/post-quiz is provided.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Life Science
Biology
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Kelley Hestmark
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Design and Fly a Kite
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Students learn how to use wind energy to combat gravity and create lift by creating their own tetrahedral kites capable of flying. They explore different tetrahedron kite designs, learning that the geometry of the tetrahedron shape lends itself well to kites and wings because of its advantageous strength-to-weight ratio. Then they design their own kites using drinking straws, string, lightweight paper/plastic and glue/tape. Student teams experience the full engineering design cycle as if they are aeronautical engineers—they determine the project constraints, research the problem, brainstorm ideas, select a promising design and build a prototype; then they test and redesign to achieve a successful flying kite. Pre/post quizzes and a worksheet are provided.

Subject:
Mathematics
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Joshua T. Claypool
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Does It Cut It? Understanding Wind Turbine Blade Performance
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Students gain an understanding of the factors that affect wind turbine operation. Following the steps of the engineering design process, engineering teams use simple materials (cardboard and wooden dowels) to build and test their own turbine blade prototypes with the objective of maximizing electrical power output for a hypothetical situation—helping scientists power their electrical devices while doing research on a remote island. Teams explore how blade size, shape, weight and rotation interact to achieve maximal performance, and relate the power generated to energy consumed on a scale that is relevant to them in daily life. A PowerPoint® presentation, worksheet and post-activity test are provided.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Numbers and Operations
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alexander Kon
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Engineering Derby: Tool Ingenuity
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Student teams are challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task with each group member responsible to accomplish one of the obstacle course challenges. Inspired by the engineers who helped the Apollo 13 astronauts through critical problems in space, students must be innovative with the provided supplies to use them as tools to move the ball through the obstacles as swiftly as possible. Groups are encouraged to communicate with each other to share vital information. The course and tool choices are easily customizable for varied age groups and/or difficulty levels. Pre/post assessment handouts, competition rules and judging rubric are provided.

Subject:
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Andrew Palermo
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Is It Shocking?
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To better understand electricity, students investigate the properties of materials based on their ability to dispel static electricity. They complete a lab worksheet, collect experimental data, and draw conclusions based on their observations and understanding of electricity. The activity provides hands-on learning experience to safely explore the concept of static electricity, learning what static electricity is and which materials best hold static charge. Students learn to identify materials that hold static charge as insulators and materials that dispel charge as conductors. The class applies the results from their material tests to real-world engineering by identifying the best of the given materials for moving current in a solar panel.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Technology and Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Lauren Jabusch, Cristian Heredia, Andrew Palermo
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis,
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Soil Biosolarization: Using Food Waste and the Sun to Get Rid of Weeds in Soil
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Over the course of three sessions, students act as agricultural engineers and learn about the sustainable pest control technique known as soil biosolarization in which organic waste is used to help eliminate pests during soil solarization instead of using toxic compounds like pesticides and fumigants. Student teams prepare seed starter pots using a source of microorganisms (soil or compost) and “organic waste” (such as oatmeal, a source of carbon for the microorganisms). They plant seeds (representing weed seeds) in the pots, add water and cover them with plastic wrap. At experiment end, students count the weed seedlings and assess the efficacy of the soil biosolarization technique in inactivating the weed seeds. An experiment-guiding handout and pre/post quizzes are provided.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Life Science
Biology
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Jesús D. Fernández Bayo
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Straw Towers to the Moon
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Students learn about civil engineers and work through each step of the engineering design process in two mini-activities that prepare them for a culminating challenge to design and build the tallest straw tower possible, given limited time and resources. First they examine the profiles of the tallest 20 towers in the world. Then in the first mini-activity (one-straw tall tower), student pairs each design a way to keep one straw upright with the least amount of tape and fewest additional straws. In the second mini-activity (no "fishing pole"), the pairs determine the most number of straws possible to construct a vertical straw tower before it bends at 45 degrees—resembling a fishing pole shape. Students learn that the taller a structure, the more tendency it has to topple over. In the culminating challenge (tallest straw tower), student pairs apply what they have learned and follow the steps of the engineering design process to create the tallest possible model tower within time, material and building constraints, mirroring the real-world engineering experience of designing solutions within constraints. Three worksheets are provided, for each of two levels, grades K-2 and grades 3-5. The activity scales up to school-wide, district or regional competition scale.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Tiffany Tu
Date Added:
10/13/2017
Water Bottle Rockets
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What makes rockets fly straight? What makes rockets fly far? Why use water to make the rocket fly? Students are challenged to design and build rockets from two-liter plastic soda bottles that travel as far and straight as possible or stay aloft as long as possible. Guided by the steps of the engineering design process, students first watch a video that shows rocket launch failures and then participate in three teacher-led mini-activities with demos to explore key rocket design concepts: center of drag, center of mass, and momentum and impulse. Then the class tests four combinations of propellants (air, water) and center of mass (weight added fore or aft) to see how these variables affect rocket distance and hang time. From what they learn, student pairs create their own rockets from plastic bottles with cardboard fins and their choices of propellant and center of mass placement, which they test and refine before a culminating engineering field day competition. Teams design for maximum distance or hang time; adding a parachute is optional. Students learn that engineering failures during design and testing are just steps along the way to success.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Duff Harrold
Michael Mullen
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis
Sara Pace
Date Added:
10/13/2017
What Is Electricity?
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Students are introduced to the concept of electricity by identifying it as an unseen, but pervasive and important presence in their lives. They are also introduced to the idea of engineers making, controlling and distributing electricity. The main concepts presented are the science of electricity and the careers that involve an understanding of electricity. Students first review the structure of atoms and then learn that electrons are the particles behind electrical current and the motivation for electron movement. They compare conductors and insulators based on their capabilities for electron flow. Then water and electrical systems are compared as an analogy to electrical current. They learn the differences between static and dynamic forms of electricity. A PowerPoint(TM) presentation is included, with review question/answer slides, as well as assessment handouts to practice using electricity-related terms through storytelling and to research electricity-related and electrical engineering careers.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Technology and Engineering
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Lauren Jabusch, Cristian Heredia, Andrew Palermo
RESOURCE GK-12 Program, College of Engineering, University of California Davis,
Date Added:
10/14/2015