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Engineering for the Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs laying bricksStudents learn about the importance of using the right materials for the job by building three different sand castles and testing them for strength and resistance to weathering. They then discuss how the buildings are different and what engineers need to think about when using rocks, soils, and minerals for construction.

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What Are Gears?

education appIn this activity, students in grades 4 to 8 use LEGO spur gears to learn about different types of gears and how they are used in many engineering devices, including bicycles, to change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source.

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Ball Bounce Experiment

soccer ball jugglingIn this activity, elementary students in grades 3 to 5 learn about reverse engineering and how to collect and represent data graphically by investigating different balls and their abilities to bounce.

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Robot Soccer Challenge

robocup 2009In this activity, part of a robotics design curricular unit, teams of students in grades 4 – 8 learn how to program LEGO┬« MINDSTORMS┬« NXT intelligent bricks so that one can remotely control the other, gaining skills and an appreciation for wireless communications as they play “robot soccer.”

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Simple Musical Instruments

Cardboard guitarPairs of students in grades 3 – 5 investigate sound frequencies and acoustic engineering by creating four different instruments – a shoebox guitar, water-glass xylophone, straw panpipe, and soda bottle organ.

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Pedal Power

Kid riding bike

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Give Me a Brake!

Bike brake

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Wind Power for Your Home

wind turbineIn this activity, students in grades 9-11 learn how engineers harness the energy of the wind by following the engineering design process to create and test two prototype wind turbines to see which works best. They also learn about where to place a wind turbine for maximum effectiveness, and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages compared with other energy sources.

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Snack Bag Assembly

Cookie decoratingIn this delicious exercise, middle school students in teams of 3 to 5 learn about the field of industrial engineering by creating an assembly line to pack as many snack bags in 2 minutes as possible. They then see if they can improve their process.

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