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Outreach: NFPA Fluid Power Challenge

Challenge DayThe NFPA Fluid Power Challenge is a competition that challenges eighth grade students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. They work in teams to design and build a fluid power mechanism, and then compete against other teams in a timed competition.

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Crime Scene Reveals Real-life Math

Crime SceneA crime scene visit with law-enforcement officers brings math to life for San Bernardino, Calif.-area high schoolers. One lesson: How investigators use trigonometry to calculate the location of a victim, suspect or crime objects.

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Lesson: Winter Insulation

Winter InsulationIn this lesson, students in grades 3 through 8 assume the role of building engineers, testing several materials to determine which would provide the best house insulation. They learn about the role of insulation in preventing heat transfer and discuss the importance of energy conservation in buildings.

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N.J. Governor Wants to End Teacher Tenure

New Jersey Governor Chris ChristieNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says teaching can no longer be the “only profession” without consequences for failure. Teachers in his state can gain tenure after three years. While defenders of the system say it ensures due process, critics contend the method for getting rid of bad teachers is too long and costly.

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To Go Green, Think White

White RoofsOne way both to save energy and curb climate change is to make surfaces – roofs, even streets – a light color. Solar radiation would be reflected into space rather than absorbed by buildings and pavement. Less air conditioning would be needed. If this were done uniformly, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the results could be huge – “the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years.”

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What Happens When Snow Meets Inflatable Roof

Stadium Roof FailSnow rarely makes news in Minneapolis. It did on December 12, 2010, when the inflatable roof of the Metrodome–home of the Minnesota Vikings–collapsed during a weekend blizzard, forcing the National Football League to move the team’s already-postponed game against the New York Giants to Detroit.

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U.S. Schools Earn a C

Empty ClassroomThe nation receives a C when graded across the six distinct areas of policy and performance tracked by Quality Counts, the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. For the third year in a row, Maryland is the top-ranked state with a B-plus. The majority of states receive grades of C-plus or lower.

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Activity: Design a Winter Rooftop

rooftop excerptStudents in grades K-5 observe how various roof shapes perform under the challenge of a flour “snow storm.” Students learn how engineers must accommodate climate and the environment when designing a housing structure.

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Website: Sustainability Workshop from Autodesk

Autodesk SustainabilityThe Sustainability Workshop video series from Autodesk, an eGFI sponsor, uses animated drawings and real-world examples in short films that explain essential concepts for budding engineers. Some topics include engineering systems, green design, turning an idea into a finished product, and even why modern bicycles look so different from those built 200 years ago.

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