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Soil Biosolarization: Sustainable Weed Killer

seedlingIn this three-part activity, students in grades 5 to 7 act as agricultural engineers, learning about and testing the effectiveness of a sustainable pest-control technique that uses organic waste and sunlight rather than toxic chemicals to reduce weeds.

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All About Code

Navajo Code TalkerstStudents in grades 3 – 5 learn how alphanumeric symbols can be encoded for many fun purposes. In the first of two sessions, they learn about codes by making their own with a limited number of symbols. They then attempt to break each other’s codes and discover the relationship among encryption, decryption, and shared keys.

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No Phishing! Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2016

Cybersecurity password theftThe Department of Homeland Security designates October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Its “Stop, Think, Connect” toolkit includes materials for various audiences, including students and educators, as well as guides to social media, phishing, and other topics.

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Shapes of Strength

house of cards with coins on topStudents in grades 3 to 5 use engineering problem solving to create structures from paper, straws, tape, and paper clips that can support the weight of at least one textbook. For the second trial, they examine examples of successful buildings in history and try again.

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Fancy Feet

high heel shoe designTeams of middle school students use the engineering design process to design, build, and test a pair of wearable platform or high-heeled shoes, taking into consideration the stress and strain on the wearer’s foot. They activity concludes with a “walk-off” to test the shoe designs and discuss the design process.

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Trash Sliders

Trash sliders at 2015 ASEE K12 workshopIn this activity, teams of middle school students express their creativity while learning the fundamentals of engineering design, sustainability, and the basic physics of forces and motion by building a vehicle out of recycled trash that is capable of transporting liquid over rough terrain with as little spillage as possible.

Note: This activity can be scaled for high school or upper elementary students.

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Class Activity: Make an Alarm

Dog sleeping with alarm clockAfter reading the story Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, students will build an alarm system for something in the classroom, as the main character Leigh does to protect his lunchbox from thieves. Students will learn about alarms and use their creativity to create an alarm system to protect their lockers, desk, or classroom door.

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Build a Portable Sundial

Google Science Fair 2016Students in grades 6 to 8 investigate the accuracy of sundials and the discrepancy that lies between “real time” and “clock time.” They track the position of the sun during the course of a relatively short period of time as they make a shadow plot, a horizontal sundial, and a diptych sundial. In the process, they learn that time is among the criteria that engineers must factor into their designs.

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Fun With Bernoulli

paper planesStudents in grades 5 to 7 use Bernoulli’s principle to manipulate air pressure in a series of fun activities so its influence can be seen on the objects around us.

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