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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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A Shot Under Pressure

super soaker water gunTeams of high school students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to calculate the water pressure in squirt guns by measuring the range of the water jets. They create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.

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Naked Egg Drop

egg yolk droppingParis of students in grades 3 to 6 experience the engineering design process by building and modifying devices to catch and protect a “naked” egg as it is dropped from increasing heights. The activity scales up to district or regional egg drop competitions.

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Integrated STEM Curricula

Chalk drawn gearsMission to Mars, CubeSats, and Polymers for the Planet are among the hands-on engineering units developed by 4th to 8th grade science teachers in a unique partnership between the Boeing Company and the Teaching Channel.

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